Asthma Linked to Higher Shingles Risk
About one in three Americans will contract shingles in their lifetime, and a new study suggests that having asthma may increase that risk.
After a person recovers from chicken pox, the virus stays dormant in the body. While it is possible to have a second or even a third episode, typically people who have shingles y have only one shingles outbreak in their lifetime.
Now researchers at the Mayo Clinic may have found a relationship between asthma and the painful skin condition.
The team reviewed medical records from adults aged 50 and over living in one county in Minnesota. They compared the frequency of asthma in 371 cases diagnosed with shingles against 742 matched cases without a history of shingles.
The average age of the patients in the shingles group was 67 years. They were matched by birthday and sex to the non-shingles group. Of the 371 shingles patients, 87 (23 percent) had asthma, compared with 114 of the 742 (15 percent) non-shingles group. The researchers then calculated that adults with asthma appeared to have a 70 percent higher risk of developing shingles, compared with those without asthma.
The investigators suspect that because asthma helps suppress immunity, it may increase the risk of reactivating the virus.
Asthma is estimated to affect more than 25 million Americans, including 7 million children.
Don't miss this week's Slice of History--the first "drunkometer."