(BPT) - Having a chronic health condition doesn't mean you have to lose control over your health. Every day you take steps, like taking your medicine, monitoring your blood pressure, and watching your cholesterol, to manage your heart disease and ensure the healthiest possible future. What if there was also something you could do just once a year that could also help protect your health? There is - you can make sure you are up-to-date on vaccines to protect against a number of common diseases, some of which may be even more serious to you because of your heart disease.
Adults are recommended to get vaccines throughout their lives to protect against serious diseases like pertussis, hepatitis, shingles, and pneumococcal disease. Some vaccines you received as a child may require a booster, and as you get older, there may be other diseases you are at increased risk for based on your job, where you travel, and other factors. But, many adults don't know which vaccines they need.
Each year, thousands of adults needlessly suffer, are hospitalized, and even die from diseases that could be prevented by vaccines. If you're living with a chronic condition like heart disease, getting vaccinated is even more important because heart disease can make it harder for you to fight off certain diseases like the flu or increase your risk of serious complications from certain illnesses such as pneumonia. Some vaccine-preventable diseases, like flu, can even increase the risk of another heart attack.
Talk to your doctor or other healthcare professional to make sure you have all the vaccines you need.
The good news is that getting vaccinated is easier than you think. Adults can get vaccines at doctors' offices, pharmacies, workplaces, health clinics, and health departments. Visit vaccine.healthmap.org to find a vaccine provider near you. Most health insurance plans cover the cost of recommended vaccines - a call to your insurance provider can give you the details.
What vaccines do you need?
If you have heart disease, it is recommended that you get:
* Influenza vaccine each year to protect against seasonal flu
* Pneumococcal vaccines to protect against pneumonia and other pneumococcal diseases
In addition, all adults need:
* Tdap vaccine to protect against whooping cough and tetanus
* Zoster vaccine to protect against shingles if you are 60 years and older.
You may also need other vaccines based on your age, health conditions, and occupation. CDC offers a short quiz at www.cdc.gov/vaccines/adultquiz to help determine which vaccines are recommended for you. For more information about heart disease and stroke prevention visit millionhearts.hhs.gov.