A Heart Disease Risk You Never Imagined Could Happen to You

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Heart disease is the number one killer in America, so like many people you are probably watching what you eat to try to avoid this awful disease. If you are eating less red meat, more vegetables, and trying to do some cardio, your heart should be in pretty good shape, right?

But did you know that there is one illness that you can get that will greatly increase your odds of getting heart disease and, in fact, the older you are, the greater the risk. What disease is this? Pneumonia. If you haven’t had pneumonia, thank your lucky stars. But if you have, you might already be at risk.  Each year in the US, more than 1.2 million people go to the hospital for pneumonia.

This recent study tested the cardiovascular health effects on more than 1,100 subjects that had pneumonia. Scientists divided the subjects into two groups by age: those 45 to 64 and those 65 and older.

The results of this study showed that the younger group had a 2.5 times greater risk of developing heart disease in the first 3 months after leaving the hospital. After that, the risk decreased, but it took a full 2 years until that increased risk disappeared entirely.

However, for the older group, they were as much as 4 times more likely to develop cardiovascular disease within 30 days after their discharge, than persons who did not develop pneumonia. This is nearly doubles the risk for older persons. And that younger group who saw their risk lower within 2 years? The older subjects do not lower their risk for 10 years! In fact, more than one third of the subjects had a heart attack or other type of cardiovascular event within that timeframe.

The main conclusion reached from this study is that people who develop pneumonia, especially older persons, should be considered to be at a much greater risk for developing cardiovascular disease. This means that people should do everything possible to prevent pneumonia from developing, especially for the elderly, or those with other high risk factors such as diabetes, smoking, or those with respiratory problems.

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