Shin­gles boosts risk of heart at­tack, stroke

Kuwait Times - - HEALTH & SCIENCE - MI­AMI:

Peo­ple who de­velop shin­gles-a re-ac­ti­va­tion of the chicken pox virus which com­monly af­fects older peo­ple-may face a bal­loon­ing risk of heart at­tack or stroke, South Korean re­searchers said Mon­day. Their study found that peo­ple with shin­gles saw an over­all 41 per­cent higher risk of car­dio­vas­cu­lar events, such as heart at­tack or stroke, when com­pared to an age-matched con­trol group that did not de­velop shin­gles.

The risk of stroke was 35 per­cent higher and heart at­tack 59 per­cent higher, said the re­port pub­lished in the Jour­nal of the Amer­i­can Col­lege of Car­di­ol­ogy. The riski­est pe­riod was the first year af­ter in­fec­tion, and the dan­gers ap­peared to de­cline af­ter that. Re­searchers also found the risk for stroke was high­est in those un­der 40 years old. The study was based on a med­i­cal data­base of 519,880 pa­tients whose records were tracked from 2003-2013.

Re­searchers are un­clear why shin­gles would boost the risk of car­dio­vas­cu­lar prob­lems, and said more study is needed. “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,” said study au­thor Sung-Han Kim, a physi­cian in the depart­ment of in­fec­tious dis­eases at Asan Med­i­cal Cen­ter in Seoul.

Nearly one in three peo­ple in the United States will de­velop shin­gles in their life­time, ac­cord­ing to the US Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion. The in­fec­tion, which may cause blis­ters, rash and shoot­ing pain, can af­fect any­one who has had chicken pox.

Shin­gles is a dis­ease caused by the vari­cella-zoster virus. It can be spread through direct con­tact with the rash, but not by air. A vac­cine against shin­gles is avail­able and is rec­om­mended for peo­ple 60 and older, ac­cord­ing to the US Na­tional In­sti­tute of Al­lergy and In­fec­tious Dis­eases.—AFP

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