October 8, 2009 --Shingles may be more than just painful. A new study suggests it may increase the risk of stroke. Shingles is caused by reactivation of the chicken pox virus, which lays dormant in nerve fibers. It's thought the virus may spread along the nerve fibers to blood vessels where it could induce harmful inflammatory and blood clotting effects.
Research in the journal Stroke found that a bout of shingles raises the risk of stroke over the next year by roughly 30 percent.
For patients with shingles involving the eyes, the risk of stroke was more than four times higher.