Shingles is a painful skin rash caused by the same virus that gives you chickenpox. When you get chickenpox, the virus doesn’t completely leave your body.
Instead, it stays hidden and can come back as shingles, especially in older people. What’s more, in the first month after it comes back, it can make you more likely to have a heart attack or stroke.
If shingles affects a certain nerve in your face, the chance of having a stroke can go up a lot. This is where the shingles vaccine becomes really important.
This vaccine is not just for stopping the rash. It also helps lower the risk of heart attacks and strokes soon after getting the shot.
A recent study shows how the vaccine can help. James Mbinta, the main researcher, and his team looked at hospital records.
They compared what happened in the first 42 days after people got the vaccine to what happened in a later period, between 72 and 162 days after.
They found fewer people went to the hospital for heart attacks and strokes in the first six weeks. This suggests the vaccine might cut the risk of these problems by almost half in that time.
The study focused on 278,375 adults in New Zealand, mostly over 70, who got the vaccine between 2018 and 2021.
Colin Simpson, another researcher, said their findings are similar to a study in Australia. That study also found fewer strokes in people aged 70 to 79 who got the vaccine.
This isn’t the first time a study has shown the vaccine’s benefits. Mbinta’s earlier work found it could lower the risk of hospitalization due to nerve pain, a common problem after shingles.
About one in three people will get shingles in their lifetime, and the risk gets higher as you get older.
For people over 70, the vaccine can protect against the rash and the bigger risks of heart attacks and strokes. It’s important to talk to your doctor about the vaccine, weighing the good and the bad to make the best choice for you.
In summary, the shingles vaccine is more than just a way to prevent a rash. It’s a tool to help older adults avoid serious heart and brain health issues.
By reducing these risks in the critical weeks after getting the shot, the vaccine can be a key part of staying healthy.
If you care about heart disease, please read studies that herbal supplements could harm your heart rhythm, and how eating eggs can help reduce heart disease risk.
If you care about stroke, please read studies about how to eat to prevent stroke, and diets high in flavonoids could help reduce stroke risk.
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