If you have heart disease, it's important to do all you can to avoid getting the flu, a viral infection of the respiratory system.
According to the CDC, 3,000 to 49,000 people die from flu and more than 200,000 are hospitalized due to flu complications each year. Studies also show that death from the flu is more common among people with heart disease than among people with any other chronic illness.
Swine flu is pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared.
The declaration does not mean that swine flu -- aka novel influenza 2009 type A H1N1 -- is any more deadly today than it was yesterday.
A pandemic sounds scary. But what does it really mean? Here are WebMD's answers to your questions.
What is a pandemic?
What does the WHO pandemic alert mean?
Why has WHO declared a pandemic now?
Has H1N1 swine flu become more dangerous?
Am I less safe now that swine flu...
While everyone has a chance to catch the flu, having heart disease makes it harder to fight off viruses that cause flu. The flu and other viral infections can create added stress in the body, which can affect your blood pressure, heart rate, and overall heart function.
In addition, some new findings show that the risk of having a heart attack or stroke doubles in the week following a respiratory infection such as flu. Researchers believe this may explain why heart attacks and strokes occur more commonly during winter months. Take steps now to prevent having serious problems with flu.
What Are Symptoms of the Flu?
With the flu, the miserable symptoms usually come on quickly. You may experience the following signs and symptoms of flu:
When people think of heart disease, usually they think of coronary artery disease (narrowing of the arteries leading to the heart). But coronary artery disease is just one type of cardiovascular disease.
Cardiovascular disease includes a number of conditions affecting the structures or function of the heart. Those conditions can include:
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the U.S. It is important to learn about your heart to help prevent heart disease. And, if you have cardiovascular disease, you can live a healthier, more active life by learning about your disease and treatments and by becoming an active participant in your care.