This Vaccine May Lower Stroke Risk for Older Adults

happy older couple
Photo by kurhan / Shutterstock.com

Getting vaccinated for shingles may reduce your risk of stroke, especially for people age 66 to 79.

However, that discovery — reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention after researchers there studied years of data related to vaccinated patients — comes with a big caveat, at least for now.

The findings are based on an analysis of data on more than 1 million Medicare recipients age 66 or older with no history of stroke who had received the zoster vaccine between 2008 and 2014. This version of the shingles vaccine is largely being replaced by Shingrix, a new and more effective shingles vaccine that became available in 2017.

At this time, it is unknown if Shingrix will confer the same stroke-prevention benefit as the earlier shingles vaccine. However, there is every reason to think that it will.

Study lead author Quanhe Yang, a senior scientist at the CDC, said in an American Heart Association announcement that shingles itself has been linked to an increased risk of stroke:

“The reason for increased risk of stroke after a shingles infection may be due to inflammation caused by the virus.”

The CDC researchers found that people who were vaccinated with the zoster vaccine live version of the shingles vaccine had:

  • A 16% lower risk of stroke in general
  • An 18% lower risk of ischemic (clot-caused) stroke specifically
  • A 12% lower risk of hemorrhagic (bleeding) stroke specifically

The vaccine reduced the risk of stroke by nearly 20% among those under the age of 80, by about 10% in those over 80. The researchers said the protective effect was strongest among people ages 66 to 79.

Shingles is a painful, blistering rash that typically clears within a few weeks. However, it also can lead to prolonged complications, ranging from postherpetic neuralgia — a condition that causes lingering pain in the areas where a person had the shingles rash — to blindness.

If you’ve had chickenpox, you’re at risk for shingles. Yang says more than 99% of people ages 40 and older in the U.S. carry the dormant chickenpox virus, also known as the varicella-zoster virus, and 1 in 3 people who have had chickenpox will develop shingles.

The CDC currently recommends that everyone 50 and older get a shingles vaccine — specifically, Shingrix. But it isn’t the only important vaccine that older folks need. For more, check out “Over 50? The CDC Says You Need These 4 Vaccines.”

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
7 Big Purchases You Should Never Make
7 Big Purchases You Should Never Make

Sometimes a big-ticket purchase is nothing more than a big waste of money.

14 Uses for WD-40 That Save Money, Time or Headaches
14 Uses for WD-40 That Save Money, Time or Headaches

WD-40 is handy in a lot more situations than you likely realize.

6 Investing Tools That Help You Diversify
6 Investing Tools That Help You Diversify

Here’s how you can lend to startup businesses, fund social causes or get in on investments once available only to the very rich.

2 Costly Rewards Credit Card Mistakes — and How to Fix Them
2 Costly Rewards Credit Card Mistakes — and How to Fix Them

If you commit either of these credit card sins, you are likely losing money every time you use a card. Here’s how to easily right this wrong.

7 Hobbies That Help You Live Longer
7 Hobbies That Help You Live Longer

Research shows some hobbies can add years — or even decades — to your life.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

Whether you resell it for a big profit or add it to your own wardrobe, this type of clothing is a hidden steal.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds
Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds

Resolve to be clutter-free in 2021 with these secondhand purchases.

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

10 Cars You Are Most Likely to Keep for 15 Years
10 Cars You Are Most Likely to Keep for 15 Years

The cars that owners hold onto the longest have one thing in common, a new study shows.

11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It
11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It

Seriously? Fibbing about the weather is a crime? This and other little-known legal traps await the unwary.

Is This Treatable Condition Causing Your High Blood Pressure?
Is This Treatable Condition Causing Your High Blood Pressure?

Researchers say too many doctors are overlooking this potential source of hypertension.

Does Wearing 2 Masks Protect You Better From COVID-19?
Does Wearing 2 Masks Protect You Better From COVID-19?

A growing number of people are wearing two masks instead of just one. Should you join them?

13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free
13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free

There are many ways to get cheap or free services and goods after reaching a certain age.

Taking a Multivitamin? Here’s Why You Should Reconsider
Taking a Multivitamin? Here’s Why You Should Reconsider

A new study has bad news for the millions of Americans who spend money on multivitamins.

21 Items to Cut From Your Budget That You Won’t Even Miss
21 Items to Cut From Your Budget That You Won’t Even Miss

Start off the new year by implementing these small-but-smart savings strategies. They’ll soon add up.

7 Social Security Benefits You May Be Overlooking
7 Social Security Benefits You May Be Overlooking

There’s more to Social Security than retirement benefits.

Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore
Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore

Starting this month, your ISP no longer can bill you for this fee.

9 Things You Should Never Leave in a Car
9 Things You Should Never Leave in a Car

Thinking of leaving these possessions in a car? Prepare for unexpected consequences.

Prepare to Pay More for These 31 Drugs in 2021
Prepare to Pay More for These 31 Drugs in 2021

More than 700 prescription medications have seen price hikes so far this year. Here’s a look at the worst.

15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021
15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021

Follow these tips to save, so you’ll have money for things that really matter.

5 States Lowering Taxes This Year and 2 Raising Them
5 States Lowering Taxes This Year and 2 Raising Them

State personal income tax rates, brackets and deductions just changed in these places.

7 Tricks to Cleaning Your Bathroom Faster
7 Tricks to Cleaning Your Bathroom Faster

These tips can get your bathroom sparkling with little time and no elbow grease.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.