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How Vaccines Protect You From Heart Disease and Heart Failure

Adults tend to get careless about keeping up with vaccines. Only 20-28% of adults have an updated Tdap vaccine, 35% are vaccinated against shingles, and a mere 45% of adults got their flu shot in 2018.

Maybe you’re not worried about tetanus, whooping cough, or shingles. And if you’re healthy, seasonal flu may not be a big concern. But here’s the problem: All these diseases affect your heart and increase your risk of heart disease, including deadly heart attacks.

As part of our preventive cardiology services at Corrielus Cardiology, Dr. Sanul Corrielus and our team help patients stay healthy and prevent heart disease by lowering their risk factors. One of the ways we do that is by making sure you have the necessary vaccines.

Here’s the information you need to know about how vaccines can prevent heart disease.

Vaccines prevent respiratory conditions that affect your heart

Respiratory diseases lower oxygen levels in your blood. When that happens, your heart works harder to pump more blood and supply your brain, muscles, and other tissues with the oxygen they need to function and survive. The extra strain can weaken the heart muscles and lead to heart failure.

Influenza and pneumococcal vaccines prevent respiratory diseases. If you have a health problem such as hypertension, diabetes, or high cholesterol and you develop pneumonia, the extra stress on your heart increases your risk of heart failure or a heart attack.

Though vaccines don’t prevent chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), they do lower your chances of having a COPD flare-up. Reducing flare-ups also protects your heart.

Vaccines prevent other heart-damaging diseases

If you have heart disease or you have a high risk of developing a heart condition, you should talk with us about vaccines to prevent diseases that can damage your heart, including tetanus, diphtheria, whooping cough, and shingles.

Tetanus, diphtheria, and whooping cough

If you’re not up to date with your Tdap vaccine or boosters, you need to know that heart complications can occur if you get tetanus, diphtheria, or whooping cough.

The diphtheria toxin damages heart muscles and causes inflammation -- a condition called myocarditis. A severe case of myocarditis can lead to heart failure or other complications.

Complications from whooping cough include pneumonia and heart failure. Though tetanus is rare, it causes an acute illness that raises your blood pressure and heart rate. In acute cases, tetanus may damage your heart, resulting in heart disease or heart failure.


The shingles vaccine, also called the zoster vaccine, is relatively new, but it’s an incredibly important vaccine for older adults. Shingles increases your risk of having a heart attack by 59% and also raises the risk of stroke by 35%.  

Flu vaccines prevent heart attacks

Did you know that adults who have a bout of seasonal flu are six times more likely to have a heart attack within a week? If you already have a heart condition, the seasonal flu often results in heart complications. You can prevent these problems by getting a seasonal flu vaccine.

Since we’re on the brink of having a vaccine for COVID-19, you should also know that this vaccine will do more than protect you from severe respiratory illness. COVID-19 can also affect your heart, causing heart inflammation, heart failure, and an irregular heartbeat.

If you have any questions about vaccines or preventing heart problems, call Corrielus Cardiology or book an appointment online.

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