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Shingles Impact on Senior Stroke Risk

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that seniors get vaccinated for shingles (herpes zoster). Not only does this virus cause pain, itching, and discomfort, studies show that seniors who have had shingles have an increased risk for stroke.

The study, published in 2014 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, noted that stroke risk was 63 percent higher in the first month after a shingles outbreak, 42 percent higher in the second and third months, and 23 percent higher in the fourth through six months. The risk was even higher in those who had a shingles outbreak that affected the facial nerves.

The shingles virus, which can manifest in anyone who has previously had chicken pox, attacks the central nervous system. In addition to itchy skin rash that usually lasts for a few weeks, shingles can also cause nerve related pain for months following the initial outbreak.

Receiving antiviral treatment during a shingles outbreak can reduce the associated stroke risk, as well as reduce the length of the outbreak and minimize complication. If your loved one shows symptoms of shingles, including a rash of small fluid-filled blisters, pain or tingling, especially on one side of the body, encourage him or her to see a doctor right away. And according to the Mayo Clinic, adults older than age 60 should receive the one time shingles vaccine.

Beyond the stroke risk associated with shingles, there are other ways for your loved one to reduce his or her risk for stroke. Eating a well-balanced, nutritious diet, exercising regularly, limiting sodium, quitting smoking, and drinking alcohol only in moderation can all help reduce stroke risk for older adults.

Because stroke is one of the leading causes of death and disability in seniors, reducing stroke risk is critical for preserving quality of life. If you have a parent or loved one who has recently experienced a stroke, Home Care Assistance of Albuquerque is here to help. We provide home care Albuquerque families trust, and have a team of highly trained and compassionate stroke caregivers who can help with activities of daily living and personal care, no matter where your loved one is in the recovery process.

To learn more about stroke home care in Albuquerque, provided by Home Care Assistance, reach out to a friendly Care Manager at 720-443-3371. Along with no long-term contracts and a 100% guarantee, we offer complimentary, in-home consultations where you can meet us in person, ask questions, and learn more about our services and stroke caregivers.