Added Dr. Len Horovitz, an internal medicine physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City: "Clearly, this study found an association between stroke and shingles in people under 40, but it's unclear what the exact mechanism is.
"This study raises more questions than it answers," Horovitz said. "Would these findings be the same in the U.S.? These researchers looked at a British population. Do we need to be more vigilant about screening people who've had early shingles? Is it really a risk factor for stroke? Would the vaccine have any effect?"
Study author Breuer said it's unclear what effect the shingles vaccine might have on the increased risk of stroke.
In the meantime, all three experts advised that anyone who's had shingles before age 40 be screened for stroke and heart attack risk factors, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and unhealthy cholesterol levels.
Learn more about shingles and the shingles vaccine from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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