Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Shingles Raises Risk Of Stroke By 30 Percent Or More In Adults, Study Finds

Date:
October 9, 2009
Source:
American Heart Association
Summary:
Adults who develop shingles are about 30 percent more likely to have a stroke within a year than adults who don't have shingles. When the shingles infection involves the skin around the eye and the eye itself, the risk of stroke may increase more than four-fold. Shingles is a painful skin rash caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox.

Adults with shingles were about 30 percent more likely to have a stroke during a one-year follow-up than adults without shingles, in a study reported in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.

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

Shingles, also called herpes zoster, is a painful skin rash caused by the varicella zoster virus (VZV). VZV is the same virus that causes chickenpox. After a person recovers from chickenpox, the virus stays in the body. Usually the virus doesn’t cause problems, but it can reappear years later, causing shingles.

Shingles is not caused by the same virus that causes genital herpes, a sexually transmitted disease.

“Many studies have shown that people with herpes zoster infection are more likely to develop stroke. But ours is the first to demonstrate the actual risk of stroke following herpes zoster infection,” said 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.

Kang and his associates studied 7,760 patients 18 years and older who received shingles treatment between 1997 and 2001. These people were matched by age and gender with 23,280 adults who weren’t treated for shingles (controls). Their average age was 47.

During the one-year follow-up, 133 shingles patients (about 1.7 percent) and 306 of the controls (about 1.3 percent) had strokes. After adjusting for general factors for stroke risk, the researchers found:

  • People treated for a shingles infection were 31 percent more likely to have a stroke, compared with patients without a shingles infection.
  • Patients with shingles infections that involved the skin around the eye and the eye itself (herpes zoster ophthalmicus) were 4.28 times more likely to have a stroke than patients without shingles. When the researchers analyzed the risk of stroke by stroke type, they found:
  • Shingles patients were 31 percent more likely to develop an ischemic stroke during the one-year follow-up than those without shingles.
  • The risk of hemorrhagic (bleeding) stroke was 2.79 times higher for people with shingles infection than for people without shingles.

Ischemic strokes, which are caused by the blockage of an artery, account for 87 percent of the new or recurrent strokes that strike about 780,000 Americans annually, according to the American Heart Association.

“Herpes zoster infection is very easy to diagnose, and antiviral medication can be used to treat the infection in the early stages,” Kang said. “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.”

Shingles usually starts as a rash on one side of the face or body. The rash starts as blisters that scab after three to five days and usually clears within two to four weeks. There is often pain, itching or tingling in the area where the rash develops.

Researchers didn’t design the study to determine how shingles infection raises stroke risk. But other research suggests that as the herpes zoster virus replicates and attacks the vessel wall, the vessel wall becomes damaged and inflamed. This in turn can cause the vessel to close up, or occlude, blocking blood flow to the brain. Shingles is also the only recognized human virus able to invade cerebral arteries.

In addition, shingles is also associated with severe pain, and the stress of that chronic pain may raise the risk of cardiovascular disease theoretically, Kang said.

Co-authors are Jau-Der Ho, M.D., Ph.D.; Yi-Hua Chen, Ph.D.; and Herng-Ching Lin, Ph.D. Individual author disclosures are on the manuscript.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Heart Association. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Heart Association. "Shingles Raises Risk Of Stroke By 30 Percent Or More In Adults, Study Finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 October 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091008161856.htm>.
American Heart Association. (2009, October 9). Shingles Raises Risk Of Stroke By 30 Percent Or More In Adults, Study Finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091008161856.htm
American Heart Association. "Shingles Raises Risk Of Stroke By 30 Percent Or More In Adults, Study Finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091008161856.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How 'Yes Means Yes' Defines Sexual Assault

How 'Yes Means Yes' Defines Sexual Assault

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) — Aimed at reducing sexual assaults on college campuses, California has adopted a new law changing the standard of consent for sexual activity. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists May Have Found An Early Sign Of Pancreatic Cancer

Scientists May Have Found An Early Sign Of Pancreatic Cancer

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) — Researchers looked at 1,500 blood samples and determined people who developed pancreatic cancer had more branched chain amino acids. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Colo. Doctors See Cluster of Enterovirus Cases

Colo. Doctors See Cluster of Enterovirus Cases

AP (Sep. 29, 2014) — Doctors at the Children's Hospital of Colorado say they have treated over 4,000 children with serious respiratory illnesses since August. Nine of the patients have shown distinct neurological symptoms, including limb weakness. (Sept. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dr.'s Unsure of Cause of Fast-Spreading Virus

Dr.'s Unsure of Cause of Fast-Spreading Virus

AP (Sep. 29, 2014) — Doctors at the Children's Hospital of Colorado say they have treated over 4,000 children with serious respiratory illnesses since August. Nine of the patients have shown distinct neurological symptoms, including limb weakness. (Sept. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins