Shingles infection increases risk of heart attack, stroke

Researchers from Boston-based Brighams and Women's Hospital found shingles led to an almost 30 percent higher risk of major cardiovascular events over 12 years.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, followed more than 200,000 participants over 12 to 16 years in three studies. None of the participants had prior stroke or coronary heart disease.

By the end of the study, 3,603 incidents of stroke and 8,620 incidents of coronary heart disease were documented. The common denominator: shingles.

People who had previously developed shingles had a 30 percent higher risk of long-term major cardiovascular events compared to those without shingles. The elevated risk may persist for 12 years or more after having shingles.

The findings underscore the importance of prevention, the study concluded.

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