How I Healed my Shingles
Shingles and other painful disorders affect the skin. Pain is a common symptom of many skin disorders, even the most common rashes. One of the most vexing neurological disorders is shingles or herpes zoster, an infection that often causes agonizing pain resistant to treatment. Prompt treatment with antiviral agents is important to arrest the infection, which if prolonged can result in an associated condition known as postherpetic neuralgia. Other painful disorders affecting the skin include
Herpes zoster An acute infectious disease caused by the varicella zoster virus (VZV), characterized by inflammation of the sensory ganglia. Severe neuralgic pain and lesions, or vesicular eruptions on the skin (presented as patches of red spots), occur along the affected nerve. Herpes zoster generally affects or occurs on only one side and is self-limited. It is the reactivation of latent varicella zoster virus in individuals who have previously had chicken pox and were rendered partially immune. shingles is the more common name for herpes zoster.
Exquisitely painful sensory radiculopathy in the presence of vesicular lesions anywhere on the body is the hallmark of herpes zoster. Typically this occurs in one or more thoracic dermatomes of elderly individuals, but it may occur in younger individuals, particularly if they are im-munosuppressed. The profoundly painful paresthesias and hyperesthesia usually subside after the vesicles clear. However, depending on the severity of the insult to the affected dorsal root ganglia, various degrees of numbness, pain, and hyperpathia can persist for months after the vesicles clear. The pain of postherpetic neuralgia is very difficult to treat. Often the most disabling feature of this syndrome is hyperpathia, in which affected patients are unable to tolerate even innocuous pressure from clothing or bed sheets.
Capsaicin is currently available as a prescription or over-the-counter cream for the treatment of a number of pain conditions, such as shingles. It works by reducing the amount of substance P found in nerve endings and interferes with the transmission of pain signals to the brain. Individuals can become desensitized to the compound, however, perhaps because of long-term damage to nerve tissue. Some individuals find the burning sensation they experience when using capsaicin cream to be intolerable, especially when they are already suffering from a painful condition, such as postherpetic neuralgia. Soon, however, better treatments that relieve pain by blocking vanilloid receptors may arrive in drugstores.
Vidarabine An antiviral agent that inhibits dna synthesis and is effective in the treatment of HERpes simplex and herpes varicella zoster virus. It has also been shown to be effective against HERPES SIMPLEX ENCEPHALITIS. Also called ADENINE ARABI-noside and ARA-A. (Trade name is Vira-A.)
Globulins Simple proteins found in the blood serum that contain various molecules central to immune system function. Immune globulins (IGs) make up preparations used for passive immunization vaccines for the prevention of several illnesses, including chicken pox (varicella zoster), hepatitis a, hepatitis b, rabies, tetanus, and measles. HIV
Valaciclovir A medication used in the treatment of herpes zoster (shingles) and herpes simplex (genital herpes). It inhibits the replication of viral DNA that is necessary for viruses to reproduce themselves. Valaciclovir is actually a prodrug, meaning that it is not active itself against the virus. Rather, in the body it is converted to acyclovir, which is active against the viruses. It has been shown to be more effective at lower doses than acyclovir. Valaciclovir, therefore, is active against the same viruses as acyclovir but has a longer duration of action. (Trade name is Valtrex.) varicella-zoster virus (VZV) Also known as human herpesvirus-3 (HHV-3). VZV is a virus related to the herpes simplex viruses. It is responsible for two different illnesses in humans chicken pox (varicella) and shingles (herpes zoster). Upon initial infection the virus causes chicken pox, a rash of pustules that begins typically on the body, moving outward to the arms, legs, and face. These pustules then...
Breakthrough infection An infection that is caused by an infectious agent although the person has been trying to avoid infection through a vaccine. The infection may be caused by exposure to the infectious agent during or shortly after the vaccination (as in varicella zoster) or before the completion of all doses of a vaccine (as in hepatitis b).
Neuropathic pain Pain caused by damage, injury, or change in ability to function of one or more nerves. It is the type of pain experienced in neuropathy, shingles, and any number of nerve-related or nerve-involved illnesses such as cancer that can constrict or interrupt nerve function. This type of pain responds best to treatment by prescribed antidepressants or antiseizure medications.
Famciclovir A synthetic chemical that mimics one of the building blocks of DNA. Inside the body, famciclovir is converted to the antiviral agent pen-ciclovir. In cells infected with the varicella zoster virus, the drug slows the replication of viral DNA. It has especially high bioavailability and is an approved therapy for shingles. As with other antiviral drugs, it does not rid the body of a virus but acts to reduce the severity and slow the growth of infection. It is available in tablet form under the trade name Famvir.
Neuropathic pain is a type of pain that can result from injury to nerves, either in the peripheral or central nervous system. Neuropathic pain can occur in any part of the body and is frequently described as a hot, burning sensation, which can be devastating to the affected individual. It can result from diseases that affect nerves (such as diabetes) or from trauma, or, because chemotherapy drugs can affect nerves, it can be a consequence of cancer treatment. Among the many neuropathic pain conditions are diabetic neuropathy (which results from nerve damage secondary to vascular problems that occur with diabetes) reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome, which can follow injury phantom limb and post-amputation pain, which can result from the surgical removal of a limb postherpetic neuralgia, which can occur after an outbreak of shingles and central pain syndrome, which can result from trauma to the brain or spinal cord.
Skin infections skin infections can range from a local superficial problem, such as impetigo, to a widespread and more serious infection. Examples of bacterial skin infections include ecthyma, folliculitis, BOILS, CARBUNCLES, SCARLET FEVER, CELLULITIS, and so on. Viral infections with skin symptoms include herpes, chicken pox, shingles, warts, MEASLES, GERMAN MEASLES, FIFTH DISEASE, and AIDS.
Herpes simplex and herpes zoster infection have been reported in association with vocal fold paralysis (Flowers and Kernodle, 1990 Nishizaki et al., 1997). Laryngeal vesicles, ulceration, or plaques may lead to suspicion of the diagnosis, and antiviral therapy should be instituted early. New laryngeal muscle weakness may also occur in post-polio syndrome (Robinson, Hillel, and Waugh, 1998). Viral infection has also been implicated in the pathogenesis of certain laryn-geal tumors. The most established association is between human papillomavirus (HPV) and laryngeal papillomatosis (Levi et al., 1989). HPV, Epstein-Barr virus, and even herpes simplex virus have been implicated in the development of laryngeal malignancy (Ferlito et al., 1997 Garcia-Milian et al., 1998 Pou et al., 2000).
But this defense depends on a functional immune system. when the immune system is suppressed, disorders of the skin may appear. organ transplantation and cancer patients who undergo immunosuppressive therapies may experience skin disorders such as Kaposi's sarcoma or herpes outbreaks. In HIV, lesions, dry skin, and blisters are common early in the course of the infection and may recur or become chronic. Skin diseases in HIV infection include molluscum contagiosum, herpes SIMPLEX VIRUS (HIV), HERPES ZOSTER (shingles), HAIRY leukoplakia, and folliculitis. Viral skin disorders common in HIV-infected people are not ordinarily life-threatening, but they can cause significant pain, illness, and cosmetic frustration. In some cases, viral skin diseases can spread to infect other parts of the body, possibly resulting in life-threatening conditions such as HIV encephalitis. Early detection, prophylaxis, and treatment of skin diseases are recommended. See sallowness skin rash. skin rash...
Varicella-zoster virus (VZV) A close cousin of the herpes simplex virus, the varicella-zoster virus is responsible for two other skin blistering disorders first chicken pox, and later shingles (or herpes zoster ), an acute inflammatory infection that produces painful blisters on the skin over the sites of nerves. Although shingles is most common in adults over age 50, it can occur in children who have already had chicken pox. Like the herpes simplex virus, the varicella-zoster virus can affect the eyes or the brain in addition to the skin.
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