home
RSS
Shingles may increase stroke, heart attack risk
January 2nd, 2014
04:01 PM ET

Shingles may increase stroke, heart attack risk

Having shingles, especially when you are younger, may increase your risk of having a stroke or heart attack later in life, according to a new study published this week in the online issue of Neurology.

Shingles is caused by the varicella zoster virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It's the same virus that causes chickenpox. Also called herpes zoster, shingles appears as a painful rash, which in some cases can lead to further infection if left untreated. Doctors say the virus remains dormant in the nerve roots of people who have had chickenpox; anyone who has the virus as a child may develop an outbreak of shingles later on.

In this study, British researchers looked at more than 105,000 people who had had shingles and more than 213,000 people who had not. They found people aged 18 to 40 who had shingles were more likely to have a stroke, warning stroke (also known as a transient ischemic attack), or heart attack later in life.

The data showed people under 40 years old were 74% more likely to have a stroke if they had shingles, after adjusting for other stroke risk factors such as smoking, high cholesterol and obesity. The research also pointed out that patients under 40 were 2.4 times more likely to have a warning stroke if they had shingles and 50% more likely to have a heart attack. In those over 40 who had shingles, the risk was not as great; patients were 15% more likely to have a warning stroke and 10% more likely to have a heart attack.

“Anyone with shingles, and especially younger people, should be screened for stroke risk factors,” said lead study author Dr. Judith Breuer.

This is not the first study to look at the link between shingles and stroke/heart attack risk.

For example, in an October 2009 issue of the American Heart Association’s journal Stroke, a study found adults with shingles were at an increased risk for stroke, especially if they had shingles that affected the eyes.

Compared to adults without shingles, those with the painful skin rash were about 30% more likely to suffer a stroke within a year of the attack. Patients who had shingles in and around an eye had four times the risk for stroke in the year following the episode.

"Many studies have shown that people with herpes zoster infection are more likely to develop stroke.," said lead author, Dr Jiunn-Horng Kang, attending physician in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Taipei Medical University Hospital. "But ours was the first to demonstrate the actual risk of stroke following herpes zoster infection."

For some doctors, these findings on the shingles virus and its relationship to stroke raise red flags.

“Although it’s still unknown why herpes zoster can cause stroke and heart problems, I am guessing it highlights the role of viral infections, like shingles and the cause of inflammation to the circulatory system,” explains Dr. Warren Levy, a cardiologist and chief medical officer at Virginia Heart in Northern Virginia. “We already know inflammation can cause serious heart problems. Perhaps we need to be extremely vigilant, especially with those who have been infected with shingles, and treat them more aggressively for heart attack and stroke prevention, no matter what age they became infected.”

Levy also brings up an interesting point: Shingles is considered to be a virus that primarily infects the elderly. In fact, the herpes zoster vaccine, designed to prevent shingles, is recommended for those over the age of 60. But these latest findings point to even greater risks of heart problems for those who contract shingles earlier in life. So the question remains, "Should younger people be getting the vaccine?"

“The shingles vaccine has been shown to reduce the number of cases of shingles by about 50%,” notes Breuer. “Studies are needed to determine whether vaccination can also reduce the incidence of stroke and heart attack."


soundoff (215 Responses)
  1. Carrolpml

    seeking the Perfect morning with the ultimate internet dating comparison blog site

    in recent years, persons have to be practical that finding an associate to have, then there is no higher quality place to buy a partner than you are on a escort web pages. however truly that time, It results in it becoming a stop in between normally adult dating internet site method to stay! are you ready for diners, Real people really exercised web sites phrase about the skills these types of bought? achieved it hard work? is the realtor secure presently this means that? you'll find loads of web sites that comes with majority of these product evaluations, despite the fact that only some have pretty much everything I mailing list regarding!

    yourself a genuine dating sites testimony domain, you'll discover gear to help you find out more on the a relationship location that interests you the actual. whilst onto the homepage from the internet dating read webpages, you will find the layout asiame is legitimate or not simple and an entire web straightforward to steer. a result of the ease-of-use of these web sites product, you can discover that you will not ever get lost currently there! place match up to the internet dating writeup on one website to another location and as well,as well as the find the point at which you are figure best suits. You'll be surprised what is offered in keep reading internet websites. study more about the different matchmaking online sites that you imagine may well well go with you best by checking out all price tag, subscriptions, and as a result turn-around end result.

    Many of websites like these currently have internet dating sites read data which is crammed with a adornment of information that you'll want to pick the required dating website, assisting you to find your significant other always! Whether you should prepare only have fun, Or whether you are researching for a long term commitments, almost nothing music looking at these comparisons and having really important details about internet sites fo you to probably identify your prized perfect match. peruse a summary about the species of people you could find one specific and then determine if they are the types you want to meet. there are also out what the golf club price is as figure out from the customer feedback, If it is worth getting started. develop firsthand regarding what the success rate is as with the prospect testimonials. decide on for your self which unfortunately world-wide-web most desirable serves your a unique character.

    an excellent feature you should try to get, besides the paid dating sites go through again, will probably be amazing dating site useful resources which is sent in that will let you have advice on how to choose the best online dating sites. buy some one-of-a-kind methods to pick a web site that cater to your necesity well. as soon active check-it-out a few, read the dating site writeup on you have to online pages of your choosing and therefore take finding to finding that special someone in your case personally.

    January 17, 2021 at 17:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. fashion and pop music

    Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you writing this post plus
    the rest of the site is extremely good.

    January 18, 2021 at 13:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. zortilo nrel

    I very delighted to find this internet site on bing, just what I was searching for : D besides saved to favorites.

    http://www.zortilonrel.com/

    January 19, 2021 at 22:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. 3win8 download

    To succeed, join the CPA Network which is free. You can use humor, empathy,
    or great information preserve that reader on internet site.
    Forums are a way to advertise your website simply too.

    January 22, 2021 at 14:17 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3

Leave a Reply to Boscosqj


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

Advertisement
About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.