A new study based on tracking the health of the heart discovered that a painful rash called shingles increases the risk of having a heart attack or a stroke, especially when it comes to older people. The study tracked 67,000 elders diagnosed with the rash. The patients were 65 years old and older.
The shocking discovery revealed that in the first week that followed the rash diagnosis the stroke risk doubled while the risk of having a heart attack was higher. After six months though the risk returned to normal.
It appears that anyone who ever had chickenpox is exposed to shingles due to the fact that the same virus causes both diseases. According to researchers every year more than 1 million Americans get the disease, a lot of them being elders.
Some of the symptoms include throbbing pain or a burn that can go from mild to a harsh one. Shingles can be treated either using antiviral medicines or the Zostavax vaccine. The vaccine released in 2006 reduces the symptoms of shingles significantly and is also able to reduce the risks that shingles brings along with it.
The study concentrated on people who were diagnosed with shingles as well as people who had strokes. From those 67,000 patients 24,000 were people who had both a hard attack and shingles and 43,000 were people who had a stroke and were also diagnosed with shingles. The authors of the study revealed that few persons were vaccinated with the Zostavax vaccine prior to the diagnosis, their number being around 3%.
Following the shingles diagnosis the patients were tracked in 5 stages. The first stage included the first week while the second included the second, third and fourth week.The third stage included weeks 5 to 12, the fourth weeks 13 to 26 and the fifth and last stage was done after six months.
Following the shingles diagnosis the risk of having a stroke increased a lot in the first three months, the highest risk being in the first week, whilst the heart attack risk almost doubled in the first week. After six months the risk came back to normal.
There is no evidence that the prior vaccinations helped or on the contrary aggravated the situation. If you get the shingles and you are senior don’t hesitate to pay a visit to your doctor as it might save your life.