New report: Shingles increases risks for heart attack and strokes

Researchers are linking a painful viral infection to heart attacks and strokes.

The Journal of the American College of Cardiology reported that shingles raises the risk of damage to your heart and brain.

Risk for a heart attack or a stroke jumps in the first year after you’ve had shingles, according to researchers.

“And not just by a little bit. The risk of heart attack was 59 percent greater in individuals that have had shingles," Mayo Clinic Cardiologist Dr. Amy Pollack said. "The risk of stroke was 35 percent greater ... What was surprising is that there seems to be a higher rate for younger…so people under the age of 40 are having shingles and then going on to have higher risk of heart attack or stroke."

Pollack said the Centers for Disease Control recommends a shingles vaccine for people older than age 60.

If you’ve had chicken pox before, you’re not immune to shingles.

“It doesn’t matter if you’ve had chicken pox when you were younger or not because that doesn’t always protect against shingles,” Pollack said.

CDC said almost 1 out of every 3 people in the U.S will develop the virus.