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Shingles is a horrible disease, particularly for older adults which equals people like me.

My 86 year old optometrist told me the other day that he has been inflicted with Shingles for the past few years after being treated for cancer. He sleeps each night with an ice pack on his right shoulder because of the pain of the Shingles rash.

When I mentioned the Shingles vaccine, he related that he knew a senior who took the vaccine and then developed Shingles. This is not good – so, I have procrastinated.

I had the Chicken Pox when I was in my 30′s and it was not a happy experience. I certainly don’t wish to contract Shingles.

This new study, however, may inspire me to receive the vaccination.

A study of people who received the shingles vaccine has found that it is safe and well tolerated, with an extremely low rate of side effects.

More than 99 percent of Americans over age 40 have had chicken pox and are therefore at risk for shingles, an acute and painful nerve inflammation that usually strikes older adults. In one study, the vaccine reduces the odds of an outbreak by 55 percent in people over age 60.

But although the vaccine is approved by the Food and Drug Administration for people over age 50, fewer than 10 percent of them have been vaccinated. There have been disruptions in supply of the vaccine, which costs $160 per dose and must be stored frozen.

Researchers studied medical records of 193,083 people age 50 and older, following them for six weeks after getting the vaccine. They found no increased risk for stroke, heart disease, heart attack, meningitis or encephalitis.

There was no increased risk for Bell’s palsy or Ramsay Hunt syndrome, possible complications of infection with herpes zoster, the virus that causes shingles and chicken pox. The most common side effect was swelling or redness at the site of the injection.

The study appears in the Journal of Internal Medicine.

Guess who is scheduling an appointment for the vaccine?

Here is some more information about the disease.

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According to a new study.

Researchers from Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Institute and Harvard University have found that greater consumption of sugar-sweetened and low-calorie sodas is associated with a higher risk of stroke. Conversely, consumption of caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee was associated with a lower risk.

The study — recently published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition — is the first to examine soda’s affect on stroke risk. Previous research has linked sugar-sweetened beverage consumption with weight gain, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, gout and coronary artery disease.

“Soda remains the largest source of added sugar in the diet,” said Adam Bernstein, MD, ScD, study author and Research Director at Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Institute. “What we’re beginning to understand is that regular intake of these beverages sets off a chain reaction in the body that can potentially lead to many diseases — including stroke.”

In sugar-sweetened sodas, the sugar load may lead to rapid increases in blood glucose and insulin which, over time, may lead to glucose intolerance, insulin resistance, and inflammation. These physiologic changes influence atherosclerosis, plaque stability and thrombosis — all of which are risk factors of ischemic stroke. This risk for stroke appears higher in women than in men.

In comparison, coffee contains chlorogenic acids, lignans and magnesium, all of which act as antioxidants and may reduce stroke risk. When compared with one serving of sugar-sweetened soda, one serving of decaffeinated coffee was associated with a 10 percent lower risk of stroke.

Well, I always drink sugar-free sodas. But, I suppose I should limit the intake and if I need an additional caffeine bump during the day, I will drink coffee.

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