Can Shingles Raise the Risk of Heart Attack?

Can Shingles Raise the Risk of Heart Attack?

Shingles, or herpes zoster, is a viral skin infection. It is not serious. But, shingles can cause painful rashes skin areas of mouth, neck and chest. It commonly appears in the summer, then goes away on its own after 15- 20 days. Sometimes, it can leave scars or blackish marks on the infected skin. This is really embarrassing and annoying. Normally, shingles can easily be handled by natural treatments. In some “stubborn” cases, sufferers should go to see a doctor for medicine. Also, shingles can raise the risk of heart attack if it is not treated well.

General information

Shingles is a transmitted skin infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus. It is one type of the virus that can lead to chickenpox. It’s also known as herpes zoster because it’s related to both herpes and zona zoster viruses. In particular, after having chickenpox, this virus becomes inactive in human body. Later, people have weakened immune systems because of stress, certain medicinal treatments, and injuries. Then, this virus can occasionally be reactivated years later. At that time, this virus only works as shingles, but not chickenpox.

Thus, people previously exposed to the varicella zoster virus will have more chances to get shingles. Also, the older age can increase the risk of this condition. So, shingles commonly occur in adults between 60 and 80 years old. But, children can also contract it.


Shingles symptoms

Singles symptoms occur in different stages. In the mild case, singles comes with a 37- 38 degrees Celsius fever, fatigue, headache, and flu. Besides, there will be some tingles, itchiness and even pain in a particular area of your body. Commonly, in skin areas around stomach, mouth, face, shoulder and chest. The rash and blisters form will appear and cause more pain. This rash can also be spread and transmitted by skin- to- skin contact. In some harder cases, the blisters causes swelling or inflammation leaving nerve sequels.


Shingles and the risk of heart attack

In recent years, some studies have suggested a relationship between the increased risk of stroke, heart attack and shingles. For example, in 2015, a study proclaimed in the journal PLOS Medicine assumed, “MI (myocardial infarction) rate and stroke are temporarily increased after exposure to herpes zoster.”

Recently, researchers from South Korea has also examined this link. They compared information regarding the rate of newly diagnosed heart attack, stroke and shingles. In particular, they followed 23,233 shingles cases. Finally, they found some common features in those patients. In fact, shingles sufferers were more likely to be older, female and have high cholesterol and higher blood pressure. They also have diabetes. So, these are all popular risk factors for stroke and heart attack. This results were published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

To shingles sufferers under 40 years old, heart attack and stroke risk increased by 50 percent and 74 percent, respectively. To sufferers over 40 years old, shingles increased their risk of heart attack by 10 percent.

As a fact of the matter, there was no true evidence for the assumption that shingles could directly lead to heart attack or stroke. Thus, this condition requires further study. And, the exact reasons behind this relationship may take longer to clear up.

Many experts advised that you should go to see a doctor for controlling your heart attack or stroke if you are suffering from shingles. Also, if your family members used to get this virus, you may need chickenpox vaccination. Chickenpox vaccination are proved to lower your risk of shingles by 50 percent in the total number of cases.


Complications of shingles

There is a number of potential complications that can evolve from shingles.

  • Postherpetic neuralgia can lead to disability and depression. This condition affects to nerves.
  • Ramsay Hunt syndrome. The shingles affects to the nerves belonging to face. Then, it causes the characteristic rash and facial muscle paralysis. So, it may lead to hearing loss, ringing in the ears, ear pain and dizziness.
  • Bacterial skin infection. This infection increases warmth, tenderness and redness in and around the area of the rash.
  • Eye involvement. Shingles causes some rashes around eyes, noses and forehead. It can be dangerous and lead to blindness.
  • The inflammation of the brain.


Treatments for shingles

There is no cure for shingles. But, treatments can shorten its duration and prevent complications. These are:

  • Some antiviral or pain medicines to reduce the length and severity of shingles. For examples, Famciclovir (Famvir), Acyclovir (Zovirax), Valacyclovir (Valtrex), and Gabapentin enacarbil (Horizant).
  • Medications contains narcotics like codeine.
  • Topical creams to relieve long-term painfulness. For example, you can applied antibiotics directly to the skin. Antibiotics can stop the blister’s infection.
  • Natural treatments. These are: take a cool bath, vitamin C, honey, licorice and dietary remedy.

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Shingles prevention

One of the most effective ways for preventing shingles is to get vaccinated.

Avoid contact with people who have chickenpox or shingles.

Shingles is contagious through skin contact. So, if you get shingles, do not contact others until after your condition is completely healed.

Maintain good personal hygiene.

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Shingles commonly lasts between two and six weeks. Most people catch shingles only once. But, it can possibly come back two or more times. This condition also contains many risks of further infections. Thus, sufferers should treat it well to prevent its complications.

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