HAVING a common but debilitating skin disorder could increase your chance a killer stroke, scientists have discovered.
The study’s lead author Professor Andrew Bubak said: “The rash is often completely healed and individuals feel normal but nonetheless are walking around with this significant elevation in stroke risk.”
Shingles is an infection that causes an agonising rash and makes you feel pretty rubbish.
Researchers from University of Colorado have now found that shingles can also increase the risk of stroke especially for those under age 40.
Those who had the shingles rash on their face are most at risk, perhaps due to the proximity to the brain, experts speculated.
L'étude, Publié dans The Journal of Infectious Diseases, found that people who catch shingles have increased levels of prothrombotic exosomes – which can cause blood clots.
Strokes occurs when a blood clot prevents the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain.
Plus de 100,000 people suffer a stroke every year in the UK and they’re responsible for over 38,000 décès.
As part of the research, experts collected blood plasma samples from 13 patients with shingles and 10 sans pour autant.
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The samples were taken at time of infection and at three-months after.
Prothrombotic exosomes were found in those who had shingles for up to three months after infection.
Most doctors are unaware of the connection between shingles and stroke.
“But it’s really important and so easily mitigated,” Prof Bubak said. “Send them home with antiplatelet agents.”
What are the symptoms of shingles and what does the rash look like?
The most common first signs of shingles are tingling or pains in patches of the skin.
Headaches are also the first symptoms to appear.
A rash can then start to crop up, usually on the chest or stomach — but it can also appear on the face, eyes and genitals, selon le NHS.
A shingles rash appears as red blotches on your skin, on one side of your body only.
So it’s important to know a rash on both the left and right of your body is unlikely to be shingles.
The blotches become itchy blisters that ooze fluid, before the blisters dry out and scab a few days later.
The rash can form a band that only appears on one side of your body.
It can often be painful until after the rash has gone.
You should speak to a GP as soon as you suspect you have shingles as medication can speed up recovery.
This works best if it’s taken within three days of symptoms starting.
However it’s best to have an appointment over the phone, to avoid coming into contact with someone more vulnerable
What is shingles and how is it linked to chickenpox?
Shingles is caused by an infection that re-triggers the varicella zoster virus (VZV).
VZV firsts infects the body when you get chickenpox, and the virus can remain inactive in nerve cells to reappear as shingles.
It is not fully understood what can trigger shingles, but old age, a poor immune system and having had chickenpox before 18-months are risk factors.
Is shingles contagious?
Shingles are contagious while the rash oozes fluid — but you can’t get shingles from someone with shingles or chickenpox.
You can get chickenpox from someone with shingles, if you haven’t had chickenpox before.
If you’re pregnant and you get shingles it shouldn’t be a problem, but tell your GP anyway.
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The NHS recommends avoiding contact with:
- pregnant women who have not had chickenpox before
- people with a weakened immune system, such as someone having chemotherapy
- babies less than one-month-old (unless it is your own baby, as they should be protected from the virus by your immune system)