Hide This

FREEHER HealthToolkit

HER Health Toolkit

Sign up for EmpowHER updates and you'll receive our
FREE HER Health Toolkit

Shingles

Get Email Updates

Shingles Guide

Rosa Cabrera RN

Have a question? We're here to help. Ask the Community.

ASK

Health Newsletter

Receive the latest and greatest in women's health and wellness from EmpowHER - for free!

Shingles May Increase Stroke Risk in Young People

By Denise DeWitt HERWriter
 
Rate This
Shingles May Increase Stroke Risk in Young People 0 5
stroke risk increases for young people who had shingles
Divakaran Dileep/PhotoSpin

If you've had shingles, you may be at higher risk of having a stroke. That report comes from a new study published in the online issue of the American Academy of Neurology’s medical journal Neurology®.

After adjusting for other risk factors, the study shows people ages 18-40 are more likely to have a stroke, heart attack or transient ischemic attack (TIA) if they have ever had shingles, than people of the same age who never had shingles.

Shingles is a painful skin rash caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox. After chickenpox, the virus becomes dormant or inactive in some nerves in the body.

Shingles develops if that virus becomes active again, which can occur many years after chickenpox. People over age 60 or those with a weakened immune system are at higher risk of developing shingles. But anyone who had chickenpox can develop shingles.

Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death, and the leading cause of disability, in the United States. A stroke occurs when a blood clot blocks the flow of blood in an artery in the brain, or when a brain artery ruptures. This prevents nutrients and oxygen from reaching part of the brain, which causes brain cells in that area to die.

A TIA, sometimes referred to as a mini-stroke, is also caused by a blood clot in an artery in the brain. The difference between a TIA and a stroke is that the TIA blockage is temporary. Most TIA clots dissolve in about a minute, without causing permanent damage to the brain.

TIAs are serious conditions better categorized as warning strokes because there is no way to tell whether any blood clot will dissolve before the brain is permanently injured. Both strokes and TIAs are considered to be medical emergencies.

According to the study, people under age 40 are 74 percent more likely to have a stroke if they have ever had shingles. People over 40 who had shingles are more likely to have a heart attack or TIA, but showed little increased risk of stroke compared to people of the same age who had not had shingles. People over 40 showed significantly less risk.

Add a CommentComments

There are no comments yet. Be the first one and get the conversation started!

Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

Improved

1628 Health

Changed

604 Lives

Saved

453 Lives
0 lives impacted in the last 24 hrs Learn More

Take Our Featured Health Poll

Do your teens have their own cellphones?:
View Results