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Can shingles cause transient ischemic attack?

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Posted on Sat, 11 Feb 2017
Question: Can shingles residual side effects cause TIAs?
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Answered by Dr. Olsi Taka (25 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
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Detailed Answer:
I read your question carefully and I understand your concern.

There are several studies which have studied the relationship between Herpes zoster virus infection (shingles) and stroke or TIA in following years. The mechanisms are not that clear but it is true that studies have found a higher frequency of stroke after a zoster infection, in particular in the first year, but also later. The proposed mechanism is that the virus may travel back from the nerve root in the central nervous system and its vessels causing changes in blood vessel walls. So generally speaking the answer is yes, it is possible.

However I see that your mother's age is 90. One should keep in mind that there are also many other predisposing factors to stroke, some much more proven than shingles (blood pressure, diabetes, heart conditions etc). Age is also one such a factor which predisposes to TIA and stroke due to changes in blood pressure over the years. So it may simply be an issue of coexistence of the two conditions, age predisposes to stroke and also to shingles due to lower immunity, doesn't mean that one causes the other.

I remain at your disposal for other questions.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Answered by
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Dr. Olsi Taka

Neurologist

Practicing since :2004

Answered : 3674 Questions

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Can shingles cause transient ischemic attack?

Brief Answer: Read below Detailed Answer: I read your question carefully and I understand your concern. There are several studies which have studied the relationship between Herpes zoster virus infection (shingles) and stroke or TIA in following years. The mechanisms are not that clear but it is true that studies have found a higher frequency of stroke after a zoster infection, in particular in the first year, but also later. The proposed mechanism is that the virus may travel back from the nerve root in the central nervous system and its vessels causing changes in blood vessel walls. So generally speaking the answer is yes, it is possible. However I see that your mother's age is 90. One should keep in mind that there are also many other predisposing factors to stroke, some much more proven than shingles (blood pressure, diabetes, heart conditions etc). Age is also one such a factor which predisposes to TIA and stroke due to changes in blood pressure over the years. So it may simply be an issue of coexistence of the two conditions, age predisposes to stroke and also to shingles due to lower immunity, doesn't mean that one causes the other. I remain at your disposal for other questions.