(Herpes Zoster; Post-herpetic Neuralgia)
DefinitionShingles is a painful infection of the nerves and skin.
CausesShingles is caused by the varicella zoster virus. This is the same virus that causes chickenpox . Shingles occurs in people who have had chickenpox. After causing the first chickenpox infection, the virus is not totally eliminated from the body. Some of the remaining virus settles in nerve roots near the spinal cord. When reactivated, the virus travels along nerve paths to the skin where it causes pain and a rash.
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Risk FactorsShingles is more common in women, and in people aged 50 years and older. Other factors that may increase your chance of shingles include:
- Altered or compromised immune system, caused by medical conditions, such as HIV infection, lymphoma , or leukemia
- Autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis or systemic lupus erythematosus
- Radiation therapy
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