Shingles dramatically increases heart disease, stroke risk

If you've had shingles before the age of 40, you could be at an increased risk for heart disease and stroke.

According to Counsel & Heal, researchers followed individuals for an average of 6.3 years after they had contracted shingles. The study found that participants who had shingles before age 40 were 50 percent more likely to have a heart attack than people who did not have the disease; they were also 74 percent more likely to have a stroke.

Given these findings, lead researcher Dr. Judith Breuer of University College London recommended that anyone with shingles be screened for heart and stroke risk factors.

"The shingles vaccine has been shown to reduce the number of cases of shingles by about 50 percent," Breuer told Counsel & Heal.

Current shingles vaccination recommendations are for anyone over the age of 60. Researchers have yet to determine the role of vaccination in younger individuals, Breuer said.

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