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Shingles 'heightens risk of stroke'

Shingles 'heightens risk of stroke'
9th October 2009

Shingles has been linked to a major increase in the likelihood of having a stroke within one year of its occurrence, raising it by as much as one-third, according to new research.

The study in Taiwan looked at 7,760 patients with shingles, comparing them to stroke rates in 23,280 adults who had not been hit by the disease.

Jiunn-Horng Kang, the lead author of the study at the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Taipei Medical University Hospital, said reasons behind the occurrence are not clear but could be related to the damage the virus does to blood vessel walls, triggering a stroke.

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, Joanne Murphy of the Stroke Association said: "This study seems to demonstrate that there is a greater risk of stroke for those who've had the shingles virus.

"However, this research doesn't tell us why people who have had shingles could be more at risk of a stroke and this is something that needs more investigating."

This week, salt intake was highlighted by the Food Standards Agency, which regularly notes the links between the substance and a heightened stroke rate.

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