If you’re one of the 40% of American adults over 65 who take statins to control cholesterol, a new study reveals an unexpected health concern: statin use appears to reduce the effectiveness of the flu vaccine. That could put millions of seniors at greater risk from the effects of this common but sometimes deadly illness that kills over 20,000 Americans in the average flu season, many of them elderly.
We found an article about this new study on the website Medical News Today. (Read the article here.) It reports on a study published in The Journal of Infectious Diseases showing that many senior statin users had a significantly reduced immune response to the flu vaccine compared with those not taking statins. If the findings are confirmed, they could add ammunition to the belief that all seniors should receive the high-dose flu vaccine, or a vaccine containing effectiveness-boosters called adjuvants. (These flu vaccines containing adjuvants are approved for use in Europe but are not presently available to the general public in the U.S.)
The study went on to suggest that, especially when flu is widespread, vaccines may inadequately protect seniors on statins from respiratory illness, compared with seniors not on statins. The take-away seems to be that seniors on statins should always insist on the higher-dose flu vaccine now available. If you’re a senior on statins you should also take extra precautions during flu season to stay healthy: wash hands frequently, avoid contact with those who are or may be ill, cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, stay home when you are sick, and take good care of yourself in other ways with a good diet, plenty of sleep and consistent exercise.
Adequate health planning is a vital component of your retirement strategy. We always advise our clients and listeners to our radio program to make plans now to care for their health needs as they age. We can help you do just that, and a good place to start is by attending one of our free Life Planning seminars. There we’ll talk about all aspects of comprehensive retirement planning: Health, Finances, Legal, Family and Housing. Click on the Upcoming Events tab on this website to find the date, time and location of a seminar near you. Of course, should you wish to make a personal appointment, contact us – we’d be delighted to meet with you.
(Originally reported at www.medicalnewstoday.com)