About a third of people in the U.S. will get shingles in their lifetime. Over the age of 60, your chances increase and the effects of it can be much worse. A new study done in South Korea shows that the shingles virus increases the risk of heart problems, especially older people.
What is Shingles?
Shingles is a virus that is essentially a reactivation of the chickenpox. Anyone who has had chickenpox (the majority of people) are susceptible to getting shingles.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that the risk of getting shingles increases with age and anyone over the age of 60 should be getting a shingles vaccine each year.
Shingles Virus Increases the Risk of Heart Problems
The study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology this month, studied 519,880 participants from 2003-2013. Of these patients, 23,233 had the shingles virus.
The researchers found that women were more likely to have shingles and had more common risk factors for stroke and heart attacks, like diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol, and older age.
The study showed that the chance of having a heart attack or stroke were the greatest within the first year after getting shingles and then decreased with time. It also showed that the risk of having a stroke was the highest in patients under 40.
Dr. Sung-Han Kim from the Asan Medical Center in Seoul, stated: “While these findings require further study into the mechanism that causes shingles patients to have an increased risk of heart attack and stroke, it is important that physicians treating these patients make them aware of their increased risk.”
Kim and his team discovered that having the shingles virus increases the risk of heart problems such as strokes and heart attacks by an average of 41%. Heart attacks increased by 59% and strokes by 35%.
While shingles aren’t always preventable, getting yearly shots if you’re over 60 will decrease the likelihood drastically. If you already have heart problems or high blood pressure/cholesterol, it’s especially important to get the shingles vaccine yearly.
If you think you have the shingles, see your physician as soon as possible to get the appropriate treatment. If you have high blood pressure, take L-Arginine Plus daily and naturally increase your blood flow through the production of nitric oxide.