Shingles is the name of a condition that a lot of people get as they age, when their immunity against the chickenpox virus starts to wane. Indeed, shingles diagnosis and treatment is very similar to that fir chickenpox, since the virus that cause the two diseases is one and the same, only in different manifestations and mutations.
Understanding Shingles Diagnosis and Treatment:
The shingles virus infection presents like chickenpox, in the form of tiny blisters. The difference is that chickenpox tends to be all over the body, whereas shingles tends to be in a band around the stomach. Often, people experience excruciating pain in the area before the rash starts to appear. They believe they are experiencing a heart attack, have pulled a muscle, have kidney stones or appendicitis, or are experiencing a gallbladder attack.
Once the rash is there, the blisters need to dry up, just as with chickenpox. This usually takes between 10 and 14 days. The pain, meanwhile, remains present in some people, disappears once the rash appears in others, and continues even after the rash is gone in others still. The latter is known as post-herpetic neuralgia and is highly debilitating. People experience aches, throbs, stabs, and burning sensations, stopping them from sleeping, moving, and thinking properly. It is common for people with post-herpetic neuralgia to also suffer from depression, not in the least because there is no cure for the condition.
Chickenpox Herpes Virus Causes Shingles:
When you start to find out about shingles diagnosis and treatment, you will learn that the condition is caused by the chickenpox herpes virus. Once someone contracts chickenpox, the virus becomes dormant in the spinal cord’s sensory ganglia (the dorsal root). In some cases, medication, illness, or other stresses, can cause the virus to become active again, traveling along the nerves. Shingles, or herpes zoster, will go dormant again after it has run its course. Unfortunately, it can reactive again at any point, and the pain can be felt in different parts of the body. Some people, for instance, experience it in the face, leading to diminished taste, deafness, and/or blindness.
Proper Diagnosis Is Important:
It is very important that shingles is properly diagnosed as soon as possible so that appropriate treatment can commence. Famciclovir and acyclovir are two antiviral medications that have been shown to be effective, so long as treatment starts within 72 hours of the virus becoming activated, and so long as treatment continues for as much as 10 days. While these medications do not cure the condition, they do make it more manageable. Other forms of treatment tend to be associated with reducing the feelings of pain. Those who have post-herpetic neuraligia are often also prescribed antidepressant medication.
Anyone who has had chickenpox can, at some stage, develop shingles. Unfortunately, the immune system starts to wane as time goes on, and that means it becomes increasingly easy for the virus to awaken again. This is why it is vital that everybody works at keeping their immune system as strong and healthy as possible, which can be achieved by consuming a healthy diet and living a healthy lifestyle.