As cold and flu season intensifies across the U.S., global heart health leader OMRON Healthcare, Inc., is issuing a national health alert to the increased risk that a bout with the seasonal flu can have for adults with high blood pressure and other health conditions with increased heart disease risk. New research by Houston Methodist1, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, shows adults with hypertension and other heart disease factors are six times more likely to experience a heart attack the week after the flu than they are at any point during the year.
As part of its mission of Going for Zero heart attacks and strokes, OMRON Healthcare is recommending preventive steps for those with hypertension to manage increased risk during cold and flu season.
“It’s important to monitor your heart health regularly, especially at times of increased risk such as during the COVID-19 pandemic and cold and flu season,” said OMRON President and CEO Ranndy Kellogg. “Seasonal flu is common, and it presents a significant risk to those who have high blood pressure. Know your blood pressure, understand your risk level, take action if you’re hypertensive, and please be especially vigilant if you have a bout with the flu.”
OMRON Healthcare is offering these tips to manage cardiac event risk during cold and flu season:
- Monitor your blood pressure regularly – Your blood pressure changes over time and can even fluctuate during the day. Monitor it regularly to understand your heart health and your risk.
- Take action to manage hypertension – If you are hypertensive, talk to your doctor and take action to manage your condition and reduce your heart attack and stroke risk.
- Get vaccinated for influenza if you are able – The flu vaccine is widely available and can help your immune system fight the virus if you are exposed to infection and reduce its symptoms.
- If you get the flu, watch your blood pressure closely – If you get the flu, talk to your doctor and monitor your blood pressure twice a day, or whatever frequency is recommended by your provider. Be alert. Increased cardiac event risk can be present even after you no longer feel symptoms.
According to the Houston Methodist review, patients who have cardiovascular disease are at increased risk of serious complications from the flu. Research found that not only are traditional flu-related outcomes worse among some patients with cardiovascular disease, but infection in those patients is also associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular events. Getting the influenza vaccine, however, substantially reduces cardiovascular risks.
According to the CDC, 116 million Americans are in the hypertensive range – that’s more than half of U.S. adults. Of these, 37 million have uncontrolled Stage 2 hypertension carrying high heart attack and stroke risk, and nearly one in five Americans are not even aware of their hypertension and the risk they live with every day.2
“Hypertension is an ongoing national health crisis,” said Kellogg. “OMRON Healthcare offers a range of blood pressure monitors to fit every need, preference, and budget. Every OMRON blood pressure monitor is a medical device, validated for accuracy and reliability. Our connected blood pressure monitors sync with our OMRON Connect app, which offers insights and coaching for better heart health.”
“For those with uncontrolled hypertension, OMRON recently launched VitalSight, our first remote patient monitoring service,” said Kellogg. “Ask your doctor about VitalSight and how this kind of service can help you manage your hypertension.”
While numerous health issues may factor into increased heart attack risk from respiratory infection, blood pressure continues to be an important heart health metric to track. Home blood pressure monitoring can help patients track their risk during infection and those who use a connected device with an app can share their data with their physician and take action to manage and reduce their risk.
Visit OmronHealthcare.com for more information on the company’s range of connected monitors, the OMRON Connect app, and the company’s remote patient monitoring service, VitalSight by OMRON.