Why Shingles Could be Bad for Your Heart

We all know shingles is unsightly, painful and can come with a number of side effects, but did you know it might also be bad for your heart?

A new study from researchers at the University College London, and published online this week in the Official Journal of the American Academy of Neurology, finds a significant correlation between young people who have had herpes zoster, otherwise known as shingles, and their developing heart disease and heart attacks in later life.

Shingles is a recurrence of the herpes zoster virus, the same virus that causes that childhood scourge chickenpox. When a child recovers from a chickenpox infection, the virus is not completely eradicated from the body and can remain dormant in the nerve roots. The virus can reassert itself years later, often as a result of having a compromised immune system, and this causes a painful rash that characteristically occurs on only one side of the body (usually on the torso). Shingles can also affect vision by compromising the optic nerve, among other complications.

The researchers in this latest study into shingles looked at data from 106,600 people who had shingles and 213,200 people who did not have shingles. All were of similar ages and lifestyles, and were tracked over a period of six years up to 24 years using data gleaned from UK public health records.

What the researchers found was quite marked. Those under 40 who had developed shingles were 74% more likely to have a stroke even after adjusting for known risk factors like being obese and smoking. People under 40 who had developed shingles at some point were also more likely to have a transient ischaemic attack (TIA) or “mini stroke,” and were also 50% more likely to have a heart attack.

In people who had shingles after 40, the link was not as pronounced but was still arguably significant. The researchers found they were 15% more likely to have a TIA and around 10% more likely to have a heart attack when compared to those who had never developed shingles.

Lead researcher Judith Breuer, MD, of University College London, said this research points to a need for screening shingles sufferers and examining their heart health. She also suggests it indicates there is a clear need to increase awareness about the shingles vaccine while investigating whether it’s time we begin giving the vaccine to younger people:

“Anyone with shingles, and especially younger people, should be screened for stroke risk factors,” Breuer is quoted as saying. “The shingles vaccine has been shown to reduce the number of cases of shingles by about 50 percent. Studies are needed to determine whether vaccination can also reduce the incidence of stroke and heart attack. However, what is also clear is that factors that increase the risk of stroke also increase the risk of shingles, so we do not know if vaccinating people can reduce the risk of stroke per se. Current recommendations are that anyone 60 years and older should be vaccinated. The role for vaccination in younger individuals with vascular risk factors needs to be determined.”

It’s important to stress that this research, which was supported by the National Institute for Health Research and Sanofi Pasteur MSD, the European maker of the shingles vaccine, does not establish a causal link between developing shingles and having a heart attack in later life.

However, the study does present strong grounds for further investigation into why it might be that shingles sufferers appear to be at a markedly increased risk of heart attacks and other heart problems. This isn’t the first study to suggest that shingles may lead to other health problems, either, with previous research suggesting that shingles can increase the risk of developing Multiple Sclerosis.

Shingles is not of itself highly contagious and to contract the herpes zoster virus from someone with shingles you would need to come into direct contact with the fluid from the shingles rash. However, the initial chickenpox infection is of course very easily spread and as a result most people in their lifetime will probably contract the herpes zoster virus.  Shingles mainly affects those over the age of 50 and is rare among children.

Currently, the shingles vaccine Zostavax is only given to those 60 years or older in the USA, with ages differing throughout Europe. The vaccine has been shown to help prevent shingles developing and is effective in 50% of cases or more depending on age and other health factors. Even in those patients who do go on to develop a shingles flare up, there is evidence to suggest that the vaccine can prevent or ease shingles complications like Postherpetic neuralgia (PHN), a painful disorder which can result from a shingles attack and last for months or even years after the shingles outbreak.

If you suspect you may have shingles, talking with your doctor as early as possible is important because there are medications that, while they cannot prevent shingles progressing, can ease symptoms and further reduce the risk of PHN.

Photo credit: Thinkstock.

71 comments

Past Member
.5 days ago

Greetings to you all, i am here today on this forum giving a life testimony on how Dr.Aluya has cured me from HERPES VIRUS, i have been stocked in bondage with this virus for almost 2 years now, i have tried different means to get this sickness out of my body i also heard there was no cure to the virus, all the possible ways i tried did not work out for me, i do have the faith that i was going to be cured one day, as i was a strong believer in God and also in miracles, One day as i was on the internet i came across some amazing testimonies concerning how Dr Aluya has cured different people from various sickness with his Herbal Herbs Medicine, they all advised we contact Dr Aluya for any problem, with that i had the courage and i contacted Dr.Aluya i told him about my Sickness, He told me not to worry that he was going to prepare some Herbal Medicine for me, after some time in communication with Dr.Aluya, he finally prepared for me some herbs which he sent to me and he also gave me prescriptions on how to take the herbal medicine , My good friends after taking Dr.Aluya Herbs for some weeks i started to experience changes in me and from there, I noticed my HERPES VIRUS was no longer in my body, as i have also gone for test, Today i am fit and healthy to live life again, I am so happy for the good work of Dr.Aluya in my life, Friends if you are having any time of disease problem kindly email Dr.Aluya on { Dr.Aluyasolutiontemple@yahoo.com} or

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Past Member
.5 days ago

Greetings to you all, i am here today on this forum giving a life testimony on how Dr.Aluya has cured me from HERPES VIRUS, i have been stocked in bondage with this virus for almost 2 years now, i have tried different means to get this sickness out of my body i also heard there was no cure to the virus, all the possible ways i tried did not work out for me, i do have the faith that i was going to be cured one day, as i was a strong believer in God and also in miracles, One day as i was on the internet i came across some amazing testimonies concerning how Dr Aluya has cured different people from various sickness with his Herbal Herbs Medicine, they all advised we contact Dr Aluya for any problem, with that i had the courage and i contacted Dr.Aluya i told him about my Sickness, He told me not to worry that he was going to prepare some Herbal Medicine for me, after some time in communication with Dr.Aluya, he finally prepared for me some herbs which he sent to me and he also gave me prescriptions on how to take the herbal medicine , My good friends after taking Dr.Aluya Herbs for some weeks i started to experience changes in me and from there, I noticed my HERPES VIRUS was no longer in my body, as i have also gone for test, Today i am fit and healthy to live life again, I am so happy for the good work of Dr.Aluya in my life, Friends if you are having any time of disease problem kindly email Dr.Aluya on { Dr.Aluyasolutiontemple@yahoo.com} or

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Past Member
.5 days ago

Greetings to you all, i am here today on this forum giving a life testimony on how Dr.Aluya has cured me from HERPES VIRUS, i have been stocked in bondage with this virus for almost 2 years now, i have tried different means to get this sickness out of my body i also heard there was no cure to the virus, all the possible ways i tried did not work out for me, i do have the faith that i was going to be cured one day, as i was a strong believer in God and also in miracles, One day as i was on the internet i came across some amazing testimonies concerning how Dr Aluya has cured different people from various sickness with his Herbal Herbs Medicine, they all advised we contact Dr Aluya for any problem, with that i had the courage and i contacted Dr.Aluya i told him about my Sickness, He told me not to worry that he was going to prepare some Herbal Medicine for me, after some time in communication with Dr.Aluya, he finally prepared for me some herbs which he sent to me and he also gave me prescriptions on how to take the herbal medicine , My good friends after taking Dr.Aluya Herbs for some weeks i started to experience changes in me and from there, I noticed my HERPES VIRUS was no longer in my body, as i have also gone for test, Today i am fit and healthy to live life again, I am so happy for the good work of Dr.Aluya in my life, Friends if you are having any time of disease problem kindly email Dr.Aluya on { Dr.Aluyasolutiontemple@yahoo.com} or

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Chizzy Peace
Chizzy Peace9 months ago

Am Mercy Brown from taxas I want to share a testimony on how this great man Dr ADAGBA help me to heal my herpes virus is the solution to herpes cure,Since last 4 months I have being a Herpes patient.it was confirm I have be in several hospital all around the world but no one was able cure it, one day I was browsing through the Internet I saw a testimony on how Dr ADAGBA the Africa healer help someone to get cured from the same virus and i also saw so many testimony on blogger on how he cure a lady called Jane and i asked her if she was cure by Dr ADAGBA,what she said was yes that she was heal and be free for herpes,she told me that there is a great spell caster that can cure my herpes Virus,I asked her if she had his email, she gave me his email: adagbaspiritualtemple@gmail.com, so I contact him and i told him I have Herpes virus,and I asked for solutions, he started the herbal remedy for my health, he sent me the medicine,and i start taking the medicine as prescribed by him and 2 week later i was cured from HERPES, Dr. ADAGBA truly you are great healer, do you need his help also? Why don't you contact him through adagbaspiritualtemple@gmail.com or call or whatsapp his cell number 2349057354407,I’m the happiest Woman in the world thank you Dr ADAGBA he cure any type of disease HIV/AIDS,CANCER, ALS, Hepatitis A,B,C HERPES, PVC/ Zika through his via email;adagbaspiritualtemple@gmail.com or his website: http://adagbaspiritualtem9.wixsite.com/mysite

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Don S.
Don S.9 months ago

My life has changed for good with the help of the most powerful spell caster called Dr Yaya. My name is Don Stella and my testimony today is in regards to Dr Yaya who returned my lost husband home. My name is Don Stella from USA. My husband whom i have been married to for 30 years left me for another woman and i tried every means to bring him back but to no avail everything that i did was in vain. On a certain good day i was browsing through the internet when i came across Dr Yaya and saw testimonies on how he has helped so many people with different problems. I saw how he helped a woman called Antonia James to bring back her lover and how he cured HIV virus and cancer diseases for people. I never use to believe in spells but i had no choice order than to give him a try and so i contacted him on his email: yayaperfecthome@yahoo.com when i contacted him, i explained to him and he told me that everything will be okay and he assured me never to worry. I didn't believe at first. Dr Yaya told me that he has consulted his gods and told me the items required to get back my man but i couldn't get the items to buy and so i sent him the money and he did his work and in 2 days time my husband came speedily to me begging me to forgive him and i actually forgave him and today we are even more happier than we use to be. Contact Dr Yaya today on his email: yayaperfecthome@yahoo.com and get your solution. Thank you Dr yaya and i will keep on telling people about your good deeds. You can also

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Don S.
Don S.9 months ago

My life has changed for good with the help of the most powerful spell caster called Dr Yaya. My name is Don Stella and my testimony today is in regards to Dr Yaya who returned my lost husband home. My name is Don Stella from USA. My husband whom i have been married to for 30 years left me for another woman and i tried every means to bring him back but to no avail everything that i did was in vain. On a certain good day i was browsing through the internet when i came across Dr Yaya and saw testimonies on how he has helped so many people with different problems. I saw how he helped a woman called Antonia James to bring back her lover and how he cured HIV virus and cancer diseases for people. I never use to believe in spells but i had no choice order than to give him a try and so i contacted him on his email: yayaperfecthome@yahoo.com when i contacted him, i explained to him and he told me that everything will be okay and he assured me never to worry. I didn't believe at first. Dr Yaya told me that he has consulted his gods and told me the items required to get back my man but i couldn't get the items to buy and so i sent him the money and he did his work and in 2 days time my husband came speedily to me begging me to forgive him and i actually forgave him and today we are even more happier than we use to be. Contact Dr Yaya today on his email: yayaperfecthome@yahoo.com and get your solution. Thank you Dr yaya and i will keep on telling people about your good deeds. You can also

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Sharon M.
Sharon M.about a year ago

I never believed i would be healed someday.This disease started circulate all over my body and i have been taking treatment from my doctor, few weeks ago i came on search on the internet if i could get any information concerning the prevention of this disease, on my search i saw a testimony of someone who has been healed from (Hepatitis B and Cancer) by this Man dr.okorom and she also gave the email address of this man and advise we should contact him for any sickness that he would be of help, so i wrote to dr.okoromspellhome@live.com telling him about my (HERPES Virus) he told me not to worry that i was going to be cured!! hmm i never believed it,, well after all the procedures and remedy given to me by this man few weeks later i started experiencing changes all over me as the Doctor Shapson assured me that i have cured,after some time i went to my Dr to confirmed if i have be finally healed behold it was TRUE, So friends my advise is if you have such sickness or any other at all you can email dr.okorom on : dr.okoromspellhome@live.com or call 2348158168556 http://dr-okorom.webs.com/

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Carole R.
Carole R2 years ago

Shingles is an awful thing to have to deal with.
I got a shingles shot and had no side effects. I'm glad I got the shot.

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Carol S.
Carol S3 years ago

Thanks Kevin M. Wow I've had Bell's Palsy, it runs in the family. It's no picnic especially when the nerves start regenerating. I've also had shingles 3 times :( It makes Bell's Palsy feel like a little boo boo. Will do some careful investigations prior to getting vaccinated. With only a 50% success rate I haven't been vaccinated yet

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Kevin W.
Kevin W3 years ago

I had shingles recently and it was no fun. I'm 53. As a result, my sister, who is 70,, decided to get the shingles vaccination. Within 48 hours of the vaccination she developed Bell's Palsy and it has not abated completely after 4 weeks. A bit of research found that some people who get the shingles vaccine will develop Bell's Palsy and yet she was not advised of this or any other potential side affects. Be aware of this should you opt to be vaccinated.

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