Pneumonia or Sepsis in Adults Massively Raises Cardiac Disease Risk

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Patients admitted to hospital after contracting pneumonia or sepsis are at an increased risk for cardiovascular disease.

Research published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology showed that adults admitted for either infection were six times more likely to contract a cardiovascular disease within the first subsequent year.

“Severe infections in adulthood are associated with a contemporaneously raised risk of cardiovascular disease,” said last author Professor Scott Montgomery, director of the clinical epidemiology group, Örebro University, Sweden. “Whether this raised risk persists for several years after infection is less well established.”

The study examined 236, 729 men overall, with a  follow-up study taken in 2010 showing that 19.7% of those men had a first diagnosis of cardiovascular disease. The 8,534 men who received these diagnoses accounted for 9,987 hospital admissions because of a sepsis or pneumonia infection. That means those 8,534 men had multiple hospital stays as a result of those infections. During the first year of an infection, cardiovascular risk rose six-fold.

The reason why such a high percentage of those men went on to contract cardiovascular disease is down to systemic inflammation. After an infection, inflammation remains high and this becomes a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

“Our results indicate that the risk of cardiovascular disease, including coronary heart disease and stroke, was increased after hospital admission for sepsis or pneumonia,” said lead author Dr Cecilia Bergh, an affiliated researcher at Örebro University. “The risk remained notably raised for three years after infection and was still nearly two–fold after five years.”

Pneumonia is a bacterial or viral infection that creates inflammation of the lungs. Air sacs in one or both lungs fill with fluid or pus, causing a cough, chills, fever and difficulty breathing.


Sepsis is a life-threatening complication to an infection. It occurs when the body releases chemicals into the bloodstream to fight off an infection, and those chemicals trigger inflammatory responses throughout the body. This inflammation can trigger a cascade of changes that can damage multiple organ systems, causing them to fail.

How do we reduce that inflammation post-infection? For the most part this requires a multitude of treatment tactics used in concert. These include:

  • lifestyle changes (stress modification)
  • nutrition (eliminating foods that tax the digestive system), and
  • liver health (reducing toxins for the liver to contend with and proactively regaining optimal liver health and function of cleaning the blood)

More importantly, if hospitalized for one or more of these infections, it’s key that you seek proactive care for inflammation issues. Timely care can make a huge difference in the future of your cardiac well being. Call the clinic today if you’ve recently overcome an infection and want to check for inflammation.


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