Ageproof: The Vaccine To Prevent Heart Attacks & Strokes: An Easy Choice To Make Your RealAge Much Younger, Get It Next Month!
Three months ago I summarized some secrets from our new book AgeProof: Living Longer Without Running Out of Money or Breaking a Hip, released February 28th, 2017). Some of you must have bought it as the book made it to #10 on the NY Times list and #3 on the Wall Street Journal List. It is on the Wall Street Journal List still (#9 last week) Thank you. Last month we talked about a trend you can accelerate to save yourself big $ and America too. In fact, if the typical American did that starting at age 35 and worked till 65, she’d have $100,000 more in retirement savings (at a 3% compounding rate) just by avoided co-pays. Talk about AgeProofing yourself!!!
This month I want to return to how to AgeProof yourself from a health standpoint with a simple choices that will make your RealAge much younger.
What stimulated and informs this column are two recent headline grabbing articles: “Having Shingles Increases Heart Attack Rate Over over 50% and ups strokes 35%” (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-shingles-heart-stroke-idUSKBN19O27U), and HPV infections more than doubled the risk of heart attacks in women (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22032713). These data present no surprise.
You’ve heard about the bad effects of inflammation. Infections cause inflammation: your immune system protects your body from foreign invaders, called antigens. These invaders can take shape as the pollen that triggers your allergies, the food you may be sensitive to that causes itching, but especially viruses that cause Shingles or HPV infections or the flu.
After you get a vaccine, your immune system responds quickly to virus invaders they have been inoculated against, and knocks out the invader. No big deal. A little inflammation that you don’t even notice. And one of your blood markers of inflammation that doc’s commonly measure, highly specific C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) hardly budges upward (it may go from 0.7 to 1.1). (Blood tests look for “inflammatory markers” by measuring acute phase proteins in your blood. For example, C-reactive protein (CRP), and sedimentation rate (ESR) are common tests. These demonstrate the presence of inflammation, but don’t reveal the specific condition or disease. Your doc will hunt hard to find the problem if your, for example, hsCRP is above 3.0 because that increase your risk of heart attacks, stroke , cancer, even brain dysfunction.)
But if you get Shingles, or have an active HPV infection, hsCRP may go from that 0.7 to 50 or 70. That’s obviously a lot higher than the 3 that causes concern. That number reflects inflammation in your arteries that can dislodge plaque that you have, causing it to rupture off your arterial wall, resulting in a heart attack or stroke. That why I wasn’t surprised to learn that a Shingles episode or HPV infection is associated with a major jump in heart attacks or strokes. And with a rip-roaring flu, I’ve seen hs-CRP values over 120.
That is why we think substantial data shows that if you receive the flu vaccine every year for 10 years, you reduce your rate of flu, by more than 70%, make it milder (this is a year-after-year effect—there is some protection in severity from prior years), decrease hospitalization from flu-related pneumonias or lung infections by more than 25%--those are obvious –but also makes it 48% more likely you’ll be living after that 10 years (because the 10 years of flu vaccine substantially decreases heart attacks and strokes). I’m not saying vaccines are risk-free, but the odds for a serious adverse reaction relative to a beneficial effect are about 1 in 40,000. (Vaccines have gotten a lot safer in the last 30 years due to the concerns raised about vaccine safety.) That is, you (or your child) is more likely to benefit than be harmed by 40,000 to 1. You’d be a billionaire if you parlayed just two kids with those odds on a one dollar bet.
Before pertussis (whooping cough) vaccines were available in the 1940s, about 200,000 children were infected annually and 9,000 died.1 Before there was a measles vaccine, up to 4,000,000 Americans a year were infected; 1,000 suffered brain damage or hearing loss and 450 died.2 Diphtheria killed 15,000 Americans in one year (1921), before there was a vaccine.3 During a pre-vaccine rubella (German measles) outbreak in the 1960s, 2,000 babies died and 11,000 pregnant women had miscarriages.4
Vaccines are NOT just for kids.
About 40% of people over age 65 haven’t received a pneumonia vaccine and 85% are missing out on the shingles vaccine5, which protects against excruciating nerve pain that can linger for weeks, months, or even years after an outbreak. And as we noted you’ll protect against heart attacks and stokes. A whopping 80+% of adults haven’t had their Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis) booster6 (recommended every 10 years)7 and 87% haven’t had a hepatitis A booster, while 65% skip the hepatitis B vaccine.8,9Plenty of teens and young adults are missing out on the meningococcal vaccine (plus a booster shot10), which can prevent 80% of meningitis cases (a potentially fatal bacterial infection), and about 35% of young women and 50% of young men ages 19-26 haven’t gotten the HPV vaccine, proven to slash risk for cervical infections that cause most cervical cancer, and many throat cancers, as well as heart attacks and strokes.11
What can you do:
1. Your next step: Review your own and your child’s (and if a caregiver, your parent’s) vaccination needs. Discuss your concerns with your doc and then schedule needed shots.12
2. Then educate others: Here’s the data again: Substantial studies show that if you receive the flu vaccine every year for 10 years, you reduce your rate of flu by more than 70%, make it milder (this is a year-after-year effect—there is some protection in severity from prior years), decrease hospitalization from flu-related pneumonias or lung infections by more than 25%--those are obvious –but also makes it 48% more likely you’ll be living after that 10 years (because the 10 years of flu vaccine substantially decreases heart attacks and strokes). And while vaccines aren’t risk-free, the odds for a serious adverse reaction relative to a beneficial effect are about 1 in 40,000. That is, you (or your child) is more likely to benefit than be harmed by 40,000 to 1.
Then why you might ask, if vaccines are so good, and the flu vaccine so useful, why do only 55% of Americans get the flu vaccines every year. It’s simple: we docs have failed to educate well enough.
But you read AgeProof blogs, so you are smart, and now you know. Get your immunizations up to date. You’ll have a younger RealAge-You’ll become AgeProof!!!
Thanks for reading. Feel free to send questions—to AgeProoflife@gmail.com
Dr Mike Roizen
PS: please continue to order the new book by Jean Chatzky and myself, AgeProof: Living Longer Without Running Out of Money or Breaking a Hip.
You can follow Dr Roizen (and get updates on the latest and most important medical stories of the week) on twitter @YoungDrMike, or download and rate his podcasts released every Tuesday at 7 am on RadioMD.com (That podcast is also available on iHeartRadio.com and Tunein.com).
7. CDC Adult Vaccine Schedule
9. HEP B VACCINE INFO: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/vis/vis-statements/hep-b.html#why
HEP A VACCINE INFO: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/vis/vis-statements/hep-a.html#who