December 18, 2014
Did you know? A stroke, sometimes called a “brain attack,” usually happens when an artery to the brain becomes blocked or ruptures.
Most people don’t realize it, but strokes aren’t always caused by a blocked artery. No, in fact, research now shows that the cause of stroke may be traced all the way back to a virus. In the research we’ll be discussing below, the virus in question is the varicella zoster virus (VZV), which causes both chickenpox and shingles.
A study published in May 2014, in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases found that in general, there is “an increased stroke rate within 6 months following zoster.” (1) A more targeted review of the medical literature published in the journal Expert Review of Anti-Infective Therapy, on May 12, 2014, found that people with shingles in the eye had a 4.5 fold increase in the risk of stroke. (2) This is significant since “Herpes zoster ophthalmicus (HZO) represents approximately 10 to 25 percent of all cases of herpes zoster.” (3)
Interestingly, Dr. Sinead M. Langana wrote that “The low antiviral prescribing rate needs to be improved; our data suggest that antiviral therapy may lead to a reduced stroke risk following zoster.” Dr. Langana is from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in the United Kingdom.
What does this mean?
Clearly, doctors should take into account the risk of stroke faced by shingles patients, and should take care to implement an antiviral regimen as soon as a diagnosis is made. Individuals who have experienced a shingles outbreak should educated themselves about the varicella zoster virus and what they can do to reduce their risk of stroke.
For example, did you know that VZV enters into a dormant (latent) state after the immune system defeats its initial active phase (chickenpox)?
The virus is never entirely killed off by the immune system because the virus retreats, and hides away deep in the body’s nerves. While there, it behaves as if it is asleep…or as if it is a criminal, conducting clandestine operations where the immune system police cannot detect it. While dormant (or latent) the virus never stops making proteins or replicating entirely. It merely slows down these processes to an almost undetectable level. While in this state, it bides its time, and from its location in the nerves, it can reactivate whenever the immune system declines in efficiency.
We believe that when an individual understands this, he or she will want to learn how to help the immune system target latent viruses.
Is there a way to do this?
Yes there is.
Another study, published in the peer reviewed journal Pharmacology & Pharmacy, in an advance edition on antiviral drugs, found that a product called Gene-Eden-VIR reduced symptoms associated with herpes viruses (the varicella zoster virus is a member of the herpes family). (4) Authors wrote that “individuals infected with a latent virus … reported a safe decrease in their symptoms following treatment with Gene-Eden-VIR.” (4) The study authors also wrote that, “We observed a statistically significant decrease in the severity, duration, and frequency of symptoms.” (4) In addition, this natural antiviral was recently proven to reduce mental and physical fatigue in another post-marketing clinical study that followed FDA guidelines.
But if stroke may be the end result of shingles, especially when the condition affects the eye, you may ask:
“How do shingles in the eye develop in the first place?”
The answer is that “Like many viruses, the herpes simplex 1 and varicella-zoster viruses are present in most adults. The viruses in the herpes family usually live around the nerve fibers in humans without ever causing a problem. Occasionally, the viruses will start to multiply, or they will move from one area of the body to another, and that is when herpetic disease breaks out. This often happens when the immune system of the body is weakened by some other health problem.” (See WebMD, last reviewed on May 21, 2012) (5)
People with shingles in the eye usually have very painful symptoms, which include “pain in and around only one eye, redness, rash, or sores on the eyelids and around the eyes, especially on the forehead. Sometimes the rash breaks out on the tip of the nose, (and there can be) redness of the eye, swelling and cloudiness of the cornea. (5)
“A reactivation of VZV and an outbreak of shingles can be bad enough without having to worry about the possibility of stroke. That’s why we recommend helping the immune system to target the latent varicella zoster virus.”
- The TargetShingles.com Team
(1) Sinéad M. Langana, Caroline Minassiana, Liam Smeeth, and Sara L. Thomas “Risk of Stroke Following Herpes Zoster: A Self-Controlled Case-Series Study.” Published in May 2014.
(2) Grose C1, Adams HP. Reassessing the link between herpes zoster ophthalmicus and stroke. Expert Rev Anti Infect Ther. 2014 May;12(5):527-30.
(3) Shaikh S1, Ta CN. “Evaluation and management of herpes zoster ophthalmicus.” Am Fam Physician. 2002 Nov 1;66(9):1723-30. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12449270
(4) Polansky H, Itzkovitz E. Gene-Eden-VIR Is Antiviral: Results of a Post Marketing Clinical Study. Pharmacology & Pharmacy, 2013, 4, 1-8 http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/pp.2013.46A001
(5) WebMD – Genital Herpes Health Center – Herpes and the Eye