March 29, 2017
Table of Contents
- Shingles (herpes zoster) facts
- What is shingles? What does shingles look like?
- What causes shingles?
- What are risk factors for shingles?
- What is the contagious period for shingles?
- What are shingles symptoms and signs?
- How do doctors diagnose shingles?
- What types of doctors treat shingles?
- What is the treatment for shingles?
- Are there any home remedies for shingles?
- What is the duration of a shingles outbreak?
- What are complications of shingles?
- What are complications of shingles? (Part 2)
- What are complications of shingles? (Part 3)
- What can be done for recurrent shingles?
- What is the prognosis of shingles?
- Is it possible to prevent shingles with a vaccine?
What are risk factors for shingles?
Shingles can only occur in individuals who have previously been exposed to the varicella zoster virus. Risk factors for the development of shingles include the following:
- Increasing age: Though shingles can rarely occur in children, it is much more common in older adults, increasing with age. This is thought to be in large part due to waning immunity as people age. Approximately 50% of all cases of shingles occur in adults 60 years of age or older.
- Weakened immune system: Individuals with impaired immune systems have a higher probability of developing shingles. This can be seen in diseases such as cancer and HIV/AIDS, or in individuals taking certain medications. Patients taking steroids or other immunosuppressive medications, such as people who have undergone organ transplantation, and individuals with certain autoimmune diseases (such as rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, Crohn's disease, and ulcerative colitis) are at increased risk for developing shingles. Psychological and emotional stressors are also thought to possibly contribute to the development of shingles, perhaps from the detrimental effects of stress on the immune system.
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