Common Chronic ConditionsHealth Trends

Bacterial pneumonia far more dangerous to the heart than viral pneumonia, study finds

Different types of infections such as bacteria, viruses and fungi can cause lung infection, which ia also called pneumonia. These infections have different degrees of severity. Most people recover without complications but some individuals experience complications in other organs such as heart attack and stroke. In one study, patients diagnosed with bacterial pneumonia had a 60 percent greater risk of a heart attack, stroke, or death than those who had been diagnosed with viral pneumonia.

“The likely underlying cause is that bacterial pneumonia causes greater inflammation of the arteries compared to viral pneumonia,” said one the researchers. “The practical result is that caregivers should be should be aware of the greater cardiovascular risks associated with respiratory infections like pneumonia. If the patient is taking medications specific to a heart condition, like high blood pressure or cholesterol, they should continue taking those prescribed medications.”

A lot can be done to reduce the risk of pneumonia and severity of the infection if it occurs. Ask your doctor whether you need to be vaccinated against the influenza virus (with the “flu shot”) and against the common bacterial causes of pneumonia. Also, practice proper hand hygiene year-round (especially during the cold and flu season) and avoid smoking.

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