Shingles, herpes zoster, is a painful infection caused by the chicken pox virus. Only people who have had chicken pox earlier in life can develop shingles. The virus remains dormant in your body and, for some some people for some reason, it activates again and causes shingles.
The rash and pain of shingles follows along a nerve line along your body. The most common examples are along your face, up to your eye, from your midback around to your shoulder, or along your beltline from midback around to the front.
Last year, we wrote about having shingles could mean an increased risk of having a stroke later on (Higher Stroke Risk 1 Year After Shingles), particularly if you had ocular shingles, shingles that affected your eye. Ocular shingles appears to affect about 10 to 20% of those who develop the infection. Now, another study just published in the journal Neurology, has come up with a similar conclusion.
According to the researchers who conducted the year-long study of 658 people who had been diagnosed with ocular shingles and 1974 without the infection (the control group), 8.1% of those who had ocular shingles experienced a stroke, while only 1.7% of those in the control group did. None of the patients had had a history of stroke before participating in the study. Interestingly, whether the control group participants had any of the traditional higher risks of having a stroke (older age, high blood pressure, diabetes, or heart disease, did not change the difference between the two groups.
The researchers also looked at those who had ocular shingles and who did and didn’t receive antiviral medications to combat the infection. There was no difference in stroke risk between those who had received the medications and who hadn’t.