Do You Know What Else The Flu Shot Can Do?

Published on August 8th, 2016

Are you living with type 2 diabetes? You could get an added benefit from the flu vaccine: a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. For decades influenza vaccination has been the primary strategy to control influenza and its complications in older adults and patients with chronic illnesses.

Over a seven year period, CMAJ conducted a retrospective study using primary and secondary care data from the Clinical Practice Research Datalink in England. 124,503 people were enrolled with type 2 diabetes. Two-thirds of the participants had been vaccinated for the flu. Outcome measures included admission to the hospital for the following: acute myocardial infarction (MI), heart failure, stroke, or pneumonia/influenza, and death. The participants contributed to 623,591 person-years of observation during the study.

After controlling sex, age, BMI, hypertension, medications, and other factors, they found that people with Type 2 diabetes who had received the flu vaccine had a 22 percent lower risk of heart failure, a 30 percent lower risk of stroke, and a 24 percent lower risk of death from all causes. Of the patients with type 2 diabetes, influenza vaccination was associated with reductions in the rates of admission to hospital for cardiovascular events.

Dr. Ezter P. Vamos, a clinical fellow at Imperial College London, said that people with diabetes are already at a high risk for cardiovascular disease; the flu is particularly dangerous for them. She believes that the flu is largely underused among people with chronic illnesses.

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Source: CMAJ

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