Shingles and strokes
SHINGLES AND STROKES
Clin Infect Dis 2014 Jun 1
A new study shows that patients who have the Shingles (Herpes Zoster) have an elevated risk to get a stroke that lasts for up to 1 year and then disappears.
Over 5 million patients were studied, and whereas the exact mechanism is unknown, the risk of getting a stroke was the greatest in the first month. Those patients who had ophthalmic zoster had an even greater risk of a stroke. (Whenever Shingles affects the face, this is to be considered a medical emergency and should be attended to immediately). Another interesting observation is that even patients who were treated with anti-shingles medication still had an increased risk of stroke.
However, please be aware that the Shingles vaccine is NOT 100% effective and that the younger you are (50), the more effective it appears to be. Patients who are on certain immunosuppressant drugs cannot get the vaccine.
Blue Cross is the only insurance company that I am aware of that may pay for the vaccine for patients younger than 60. The other commercial carriers usually kick in at 60. Medicare DOES NOT pay for Shingles vaccines, although supplementary insurance and MEDICARE PART D will pay a portion. If you have a Medicare replacement plan, please contact them about coverage as they usually WILL NOT inform my office concerning coverage.