Shingles can develop with no warning in almost anyone. There are certain risk factors that can increase a person’s chances of developing shingles. Below is an explanation of several risk factors associated with shingles.
The number one cause of shingles is stress. A patient that is currently or has previously experienced high amounts of stress is at a higher risk for developing shingles than other individuals. It does not matter if the patient has undertaken efforts to reduce stress. Shingles are triggered by any time that the body’s immune system has been compromised. Stress often affects the body long after the stressor has been reduced.
Previous Chicken Pox
Any individual that has previously had chicken pox is at risk for developing shingles. Chicken pox lies dormant in a person’s nerve endings long after chicken pox has disappeared. Shingles is the result of this dormant chicken pox virus becoming active. Previously having had chicken pox, therefore, increases the risk of developing shingles. Moreover, having had the chicken pox vaccine and not chicken pox places an individual at risk for developing shingles.
Individuals of an older age are at a higher risk for developing shingles. Unfortunately, older age patients with shingles often contract more serious cases of shingles. These cases last longer, are more painful and often spread to more places. Individuals above the age of 60 are at a very high risk of developing shingles. The shingles vaccine is encouraged for people age 60 and older.
While the shingles vaccine undoubtedly assists many individuals, it also increases the risk of shingles. The vaccine places a very small amount of the disease into a person’s body. If the individuals’ immune system fails to fight off this small amount, the patient could quite possibly develop shingles. Prior to receiving the shingles vaccine, discuss any possible complications with your physician.
Trauma to an individual’s nerve endings increases the chances of shingles. It is also possible that severe treatment, such as chiropractic treatment, to an injury can cause shingles. Shingles is a virus that assault’s a person’s nerve endings. Trauma to nerve endings makes it easier for the virus to take over the nerve endings.
An individual that is currently experiencing an illness, whether serious or not so serious, places the individual at higher risk for developing shingles. Additionally, treatments that affect a body’s immune system increase the risk of contracting shingles. Chemotherapy treatments place a patient at extreme risk for developing shingles. Children undergoing cancer treatments are particularly at risk for developing shingles.
Family Member with Shingles
Shingles are contagious. A family member that has shingles places other family members at risk for also developing shingles. While this risk decreases over time, it is possible that a family member may develop shingles long after the first case of shingles has cleared itself. Because of this, it is essential for family members that have developed the disease to stay clear of others that have not yet developed shingles.