The days are slowly but surely getting shorter and the weather is certainly a bit more chilly… soon the cold and flu season will be upon us. And according to new research, that means your risk of a heart attack may increase by as much as 13 times!
Curb a cold and save your life
According to the latest research, you’re at greater risk of suffering a heart attack in the weeks immediately following a cold or respiratory infection.
Australian researchers interviewed 578 heart attack patients, and found that 21 per cent of them reported having had a cold or other mild respiratory illness within a month before they had a heart attack.
Now that could just be a coincidence, but 17 per cent of those interviewed reported similar symptoms within the previous week of their heart attack.
After crunching the numbers, the researchers determined that patients who had a recent cold or upper respiratory infection were a whopping 13 times more likely to have a heart attack than patients who reported no infections.
The theory is that respiratory infections can bring on a heart attack because they increase inflammation. And, as you know, inflammation is the culprit behind many of our most common diseases and health conditions – including cardiovascular disease.
For instance, inflammation can make your blood clot – something that can also happen when you get sick with a cold. And when your blood is too thick – or has clumped together in clots – it doesn’t flow well through your body and can’t deliver oxygen and nutrients to all the parts that need them, including your heart.
But that’s not all. A respiratory infection can introduce toxins into your body that can damage your blood vessels. And if your blood isn’t flowing the way it should be, it can’t clear those toxins out of your bloodstream as quickly as you may need.
As always, when it comes to common-sense cold prevention practices the first thing you need to do is to frequently wash your hands with good old-fashioned soap and water to get rid of any viruses you may have picked up from shared surfaces, objects, or other people.
You’ll want to also:
- Get plenty of sleep
- Minimise your intake of sugar, which can cause inflammation and hinder your immune response
- Ramp up your probiotic intake to help support immunity
- Load up on vitamins C and D, two of the best immune boosters out there.
At the first sign of symptoms, you can also supplement with elderberry extract or Echinacea to kick your immune system into high gear.