Do Infections Really Increase the Risk of Heart Attacks?

We all know that infections are linked to a whole host of problems, a few of which include: sinus congestion, skin conditions, breathing disorders, sneezing and sniffling. But, few people ever think about whether infections can increase the risk of heart disease. And, indeed, it sounds like something out of a science fiction movie rather than science fact, so researchers at the Department of Epidemiology and Environmental Health Sciences at Georgia Southern University set to work to find out whether there might be any truth to the link.

Dr. Kamakshi Lakshminarayan, a neurologist, associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, and a senior author of the study along with the other study researchers, examined 1312 people who had a coronary event like a heart attack or myocardial infarction and compared them to 727 people who had a stroke. Both inpatients and hospitalized patients were assessed as part of the study.

The researchers attempted to identify patients who had some sort of infection within 2 years of having the cardiac events or stroke. Urinary tract infections (UTIs), respiratory infections including pneumonia, skin infections and blood infections were the most common types of infections reported.

Published in the Journal of the American Heart Association (JAHA), the researchers found that certain types of infections can increase the risk of heart disease and cardiovascular events like heart attacks and stroke. They found that 37 percent of people with heart disease had developed an infection within 3 months of having a cardiac event. They also found that the risk of heart attack was highest within 2 weeks of developing an infection. Interestingly, the researchers also found that inpatients had a higher risk of stroke or heart attack than outpatients.

Does that mean you shouldn’t go to the hospital if you have some sort of infection? Of course not. Always seek medical care for any health issue you are facing, but as most people know, the most common treatment for infections involve antibiotics, which are increasingly resistant. So, in addition to following any treatment plan you’re given, you may also wish to incorporate some proven natural anti-infectious remedies to help eliminate the infection without affecting your heart.

Some of the best natural anti-infectious remedies include: oregano essential oil, thyme essential oil, cinnamon essential oil, elderberry tincture, cranberry juice (particularly for urinary tract infections) and dandelion (also best for UTIs). Some of these remedies require special care in their use so be sure to follow package directions or work with a skilled natural health practitioner.

Drinking more green tea during an infection may also be helpful. Research published in the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine found that natural compounds found in green tea demonstrate the ability to kill E. coli bacteria in laboratory studies. The beverage contains the potent antioxidant known as epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) which may be responsible for the beverage’s anti-infectious properties.

Oregano essential oil can be a great addition to your arsenal for dealing with infections. But the quality of the oil is paramount. Many brands on the market don’t even contain oregano; instead, they contain marjoram, which is a great herb and oil but not nearly anti-infectious enough. The Latin name for marjoram, Origanum majorana, allows companies to dupe consumers into thinking they are buying oregano. Most people assume they are getting oregano when the label says “oregano oil” and the ingredients list an herb starting with “Origanum.” But, you’ll want to be sure you’re getting 100% pure, undiluted oil of oregano.

While there are different species, I find Origanum vulgare to be the most effective, and research in the journal Microbial Ecology in Health and Disease supports its use, particularly for urinary tract infections. However, the oil is beneficial against many other types of infections. Because pure oregano essential oil is potent, most manufacturers dilute it in another oil, which makes it more palatable but also less effective.

The study authors speculate that because the immune system creates more white blood cells during an infection, those with heart disease are vulnerable to the higher amount of blood cells, known as platelets, and the stickiness they can cause in the blood vessels. So, if you’re suffering from heart disease, you may also wish to explore natural blood-thinning remedies like garlic, ginger, nuts and seeds, flaxseed oil and avocados, to name a few heart-healing foods, when you have any type of infection. Although, it would be a good idea to incorporate these foods on a daily basis if you have heart disease, regardless whether you have an infection.

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Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM is the publisher of the free e-newsletter World’s Healthiest News, co-founder of BestPlaceinCanada and Scentsational Wellness, and a best-selling and 20-time book author whose works include: The Cultured Cook: Delicious Fermented Foods with Probiotics to Knock Out Inflammation, Boost Gut Health, Lose Weight & Extend Your LifeFollow her work.



Lara A
Lara A16 days ago

Many thanks

Anna R
Alice Rabout a month ago

thanks for the article

Peter B
Kevin B1 months ago

thank you for sharing

Daniel N
Daniel N2 months ago


Richard E Cooley
Richard E Cooley3 months ago

Thank you.

Lesa D
Past Member 5 months ago

thank you Michelle...

Knud T
Knud T5 months ago


Marija M
Marija M5 months ago

tks for sharing this interesting article.

Edgar Zuim
Edgar Zuim5 months ago


Clare O
Clare O5 months ago