Published: Thursday 17 December

A new study published in the journal PLOS Medicine suggests that being diagnosed with shingles could increase the risk of stroke, and heart attack, for some months after diagnosis.

Dr Shamim Quadir, Research Communications Manager at the Stroke Association said:

“The findings of this latest study suggest that in the week following a person’s diagnosis of shingles, they have a 2.4 fold increase in their risk of having a stroke caused by a blood clot. The risk remains raised for three months, reducing over time to the level when they were thought not to be exposed to shingles.

“There could be many reasons for a link between shingles and stroke.   The main theory is that having shingles could cause inflammation that affects narrowed arteries to the brain, in turn leading to the a formation of a blood clot and causing a stroke. Anyone with any concerns about their risk of stroke should speak with their GP.” 

The study was led by Dr Caroline Minassian, Research Fellow in Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.  It  was supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), the Stroke Association and the Wellcome Trust.  More information can be found at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine website.

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