Shingles boosts stroke risk, study says

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Oct. 19, 2009

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People who have had herpes zoster, or shingles, are more likely to have a stroke within the following year than those who did not have shingles, according to a study in the American Heart Assn.'s journal Stroke that appeared online Oct. 8 (link).

Researchers followed about 8,000 shingles patients for one year after treatment. The patients were matched by age and gender with 23,000 people who weren't treated for shingles. During the one-year follow-up, 133 shingles patients -- about 1.7% -- and 306 of the control group -- about 1.3% -- had strokes. Patients with herpes zoster ophthalmicus had an increased stroke risk of 5.8%.

The authors urged physicians and patients to control other risk factors for strokes, such as high blood pressure, smoking and diabetes.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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