Have you ever experienced shingles, a painful skin rash which affects around 1 in 3 people? If yes, you might want to go see a doctor and check your heart risk, since this condition increases the chances of heart attacks and strokes. A study was designed on the subject, and the results were gathered in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
- Shingles is produced by the same virus as chickenpox.
- This condition increases the risk of heart attack and stroke, especially in younger people.
- It isn’t clear why this happens, but researchers think the reactivation of the virus affects arteries.
For the study, the researchers observed around 520,000 participants for a period of 10 years. This is how they discovered that people with shingles had a 35 percent higher chance of experiencing a stroke, while the chance of having a heart attack was 59 percent.
In the case of stroke, the risk was even higher for younger people. If you are under 40 and had shingles, you have nearly three times the stroke risk of those who had never experienced this skin rash. This should be kept in mind, since such young people usually have no other risk factors.
Researchers also discovered that, around one year after people were diagnosed with this condition, the cardiovascular risk reached its peak. Therefore, be careful not to contribute to this risk and make it even higher.
Shingles is also called herpes zoster, and is caused by the same virus which causes chickenpox. If you suffered from chickenpox, the virus still remains in your body, but in a dormant state. Then, it might happen for it to become active again, and causes shingles.
Researchers couldn’t find out why shingles increases the cardiovascular risks, but they have a few hints. When the virus regains its active state, it might affect your brain arteries, increasing the risk of hemorrhagic stroke or aneurysm. Moreover, shingles might cause the production of more inflammatory cells, which also affect your arteries and increase the risk of heart attack.
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