Shingles may Increase Risk for Stroke

Shingles may Increase Risk for Stroke

Reported October 13, 2009

(Ivanhoe Newswire) – Adults with shingles were about 30 percent more likely to have a stroke during a one-year follow-up than adults without the painful condition, according to a new study.

The risk was even greater when the infection involved the eyes.

Shingles is a skin rash developed from the same virus as chicken pox. The virus from chicken pox stays in the skin, and can reappear years later, causing shingles. The rash usually begins on one side of the face or body and causes painful blisters, scabbing, itching and tingling. When the shingles infection was close to the eyes, patients with shingles were 4.28 times more likely to experience a stroke.

Researchers studied 7,760 shingles patients 18 years and older, and 23, 280 adults without shingles. Participant’s average age was 47. All participants were studied for four years (1997-2001) and followed up with one year after the study.



“While the mechanism by which shingles increases stroke risk remains unclear, the possibility of developing a stroke after a shingles attack should not be overlooked. Doctors and patients must pay extra attention to controlling other risk factors for stroke, such as high blood pressure, smoking and diabetes,” Jiunn-Horng Kang, M.D., M.Sc., lead author of the study and attending physician in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and chair of the Sleep Physiological Lab at Taipei Medical University Hospital was quoted as saying.

SOURCE: Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association, 2009