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Health Alert: Shingles Study

Updated: Thursday, January 2 2014, 05:24 PM EST
CINCINNATI (Liz Bonis) -- Shingles is when the chicken pox virus comes back out through the nerves.

It usually comes out somewhere on the trunk in a painful rash often decades after a person has had the chicken pox.

Doctor Scott Woods says the best way to prevent shingles is to get the shingles vaccine and now there may be yet another reason to do that.

This study finds having shingles at a young age may significantly increase your risk for stroke, even years later.  Those who had shingles between the ages of 18 and 40 were 74 percent more likely to have a stroke, heart attack or TIA, which is a mini stroke, than those who got shingles when they were older.

Researchers compared more than 100,000 people who had Herpes Zoster, or shingles, to more than 200,000 people of similar ages who did not have shingles.  They say younger people who have had shingles should be screened for stroke risks such as high blood pressure.

Right now Doctor Woods says the shingles vaccine is only suggested for those age 50 and over.

"The main thing you are trying to prevent there is a post shingles painful nerve syndrome called Post Neuropetic Neurelgia.  It's very painful, can really dramatically alter your quality of life, and it becomes more common if you get shingles over the age of 50."

Researchers say more studies are needed to know if the shingles vaccine should be given at a younger age to reduce this stroke and heart attack risk. Health Alert: Shingles Study

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