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Ask the Expert: Why are heart patients more at risk for flu complications?

There's an important warning from heart experts when it comes to fighting the flu. (WKRC)

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - There's an important warning from heart experts when it comes to fighting the flu.

Cardiologists say the common symptoms of a flu virus, such as fever, respiratory symptoms, severe headaches, body aches and dehydration, are risks for all people, but for those who have high blood pressure or who have had heart surgery or even heart failure may especially be at risk.

St. Elizabeth Healthcare interventional cardiologist Dr. Mohan Brar says this is because heart patients' immune systems are compromised, especially those who have had heart failure.

"All these conditions can put off metabolic stress in the body, and if they're not feeling better, if the symptoms are progressive, it's good to seek medical help because, sometimes, it may not be the flu. It could still be heart failure or something else that could be going on. It could be pneumonia. That can then trigger more serious cardiovascular health issues, so I think the earlier you identify and recognize them and get help, the better it is," said Dr. Brar.

The flu tends to get worse quickly instead of better, so that's an early warning sign to seek treatment.

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