Surge in respiratory infections during winter linked to spike in heart attacks, strokes: DAK

Srinagar : Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Saturday said surge in respiratory infections during winter puts people at higher risk of heart attacks and strokes.

“If you catch respiratory infection, you are at increased risk of having a heart attack or stroke,” said DAK President and Influenza expert Dr Nisar-ul-Hassan in a statement

Dr Hassan said as winter sets in, cases of respiratory infections increase. The surge in respiratory infections has been linked to spike in heart attacks and strokes during winter months.

He said a study conducted at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine has found strong evidence that recent respiratory infections increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

The researchers found that the risk of both heart attack and stroke doubled in the week following respiratory infection.

The risk is particularly high among elderly and those with underling heart conditions.

The DAK President said respiratory infection causes acute and severe inflammation that builds up fat deposits in the inner walls of blood vessels. These fat deposits dislodge and get stuck in heart or brain, where they block the blood flow.

“Infection activates blood cells and clotting system leading to increased risk of blood clots,” he said.

Dr Nisar said the number of heart attacks and stroke patients in Kashmir doubles in winter and respiratory infection is a major factor.

“The risk is similar to the risk seen for other known risk factors, such as high blood pressure, diabetes or smoking,” he said.

“Preventing respiratory infections by vaccinating people against influenza and pneumococcus will help reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes during wintertime,” he added.

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