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Researchers find a link between asthma and an increased risk of developing shingles

Researchers find a link between asthma and an increased risk of developing shingles

A US study has found that people with asthma could be more likely to develop shingles than people without the condition.

Shingles is caused by the virus behind chickenpox. After a person recovers from chickenpox, the virus lays dormant in the body and can become reactivated to cause shingles later in life. Anyone that has previously had chickenpox can go on to develop shingles, yet not everyone does.

This study, published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, involved looking at the medical records of over 1,000 people over the age of 50 to see if there was a relationship between having asthma and developing shingles.

371 of the people studied had received a diagnosis of shingles and, of these, 87 (23%) had asthma. The researchers also had a comparison group of 742 people without a history of shingles, of which 114 (15%) had asthma.

The scientists used a statistical method to compare the two groups and found that people with asthma appeared to be 70% more likely to develop shingles than those without the condition.

Though the study did not look into a reason for this increased risk, the researchers suggest that, since asthma can weaken the immune system, it may also make a person more susceptible to shingles.

Read the original news story

Read the abstract of the journal article