The Silent Dangers of Shingles: A Ticking Time Bomb for Those Over 50+

Eagle: A Silent Danger for Those Over 50+

Shingles, a viral disease that lies dormant in the body’s nerve ganglia, is a ticking time bomb waiting to strike as people age. It is not merely a skin rash, but a condition that affects the nervous system, causing long-lasting pain along the nerves and potential complications. Studies reveal that over 90% of individuals aged 50 and above are at risk of developing shingles, with symptoms being more severe and enduring compared to younger individuals.

The Time is Now: Preventing Shingles

GlaxoSmithKline (Thailand) Co, Ltd or GSK recently organized an academic conference titled “The Time is Now: Preventing Shingles” with the aim of raising awareness about this dangerous disease among individuals aged 50 and above. The conference featured Dr. Butsakorn Mahakanukroh, MD, GSK’s Medical Director, who emphasized GSK’s commitment to using science, technology, and human talent to prevent various diseases. Dr. Mahakanukroh urged individuals in this age group to seek advice from medical professionals as shingles is preventable, thanks to the availability of a vaccine.

Understanding Shingles: Causes and Symptoms

Shingles, caused by the Varicella Zoster Virus (VZV), is closely associated with chickenpox. VZV remains dormant in the nerve ganglia after an individual recovers from chickenpox. However, when the immune system weakens due to various factors, the virus is reignited, resulting in shingles. This condition leads to irritation and burning pain along the sensory nerves, accompanied by a distinctive red rash that turns into clear blisters. Even after the rash disappears, individuals can experience persistent pain akin to being stabbed with needles.

Complications and Impact on Quality of Life

The effects of shingles extend beyond a skin rash. Complications, such as long-lasting nerve pain, are common, particularly in patients over the age of 50. Studies have shown that 5-30% of shingles patients continue to experience nerve pain for over three months, even after the rash has vanished. Older individuals are more likely to suffer from severe and persistent symptoms compared to younger individuals, significantly affecting their daily lives. Furthermore, shingles increases the risk of bacterial infections, eye inflammation, corneal ulcers, and other complications like Stroke and Rumsey Hunting Syndrome.

Preventing Shingles: Expert Recommendations

According to Professor Dr. Theeraphong Tantawichian from Chulalongkorn Hospital, the risk of developing shingles is highest for individuals aged 50 and above, especially those with weakened immune systems. He stressed the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and immune system to minimize the risk. Additionally, Professor Dr. Sasisopin Kiatburanakul, an expert on infectious diseases from Ramathibodi Hospital, highlighted the effectiveness of vaccines in preventing shingles among high-risk individuals. Vaccination is strongly recommended for adults aged 50 and over, as well as those with compromised immune systems.

Taking Shingles Seriously

Associate Professor (Special) Dr. Thawee Chotipitayasunon from Queen Sirikit National Institute of Children’s Health emphasized the severity of shingles among the elderly, as chronic pain that persists for months is common. In some cases, shingles can lead to serious medical conditions like stroke or blood vessel complications in the brain. Contrary to popular belief, shingles is not a minor skin condition, but a serious health concern for individuals aged 50 and above. Aging and weakened immunity serve as triggers for this potentially debilitating disease.

Given the risks associated with shingles, it is crucial for elderly individuals and those with compromised immune systems to take preventive measures. This includes maintaining a nutritious diet, getting adequate sleep, engaging in regular exercise, and receiving the shingles vaccine.

Eagle… a ticking time bomb hidden in the body. Silent dangers you need to beware of as you enter the age of 50+

Shingles is caused by a virus that lies dormant in the body’s nerve ganglia, waiting to break out as people age. It is not just a skin rash disease. But it affects the nervous system. That can cause pain along the nerves that can last for many years. Including other complications. Studies have shown that more than 90% of people aged 50+ are at risk of developing shingles. and the symptoms are more severe and last longer than in younger people

At the academic conference “THE TIME IS NOW: PREVENTING shingles” organized by GlaxoSmithKline (Thailand) Co, Ltd or GSK, Dr Butsakorn Mahakanukroh, MD GSK’s Medical Director said, “GSK, as a biopharma company, is committed to bringing science, technology and human talent to life. Come and drive to be able to take the lead in preventing various diseases Organized to raise awareness and campaign to prevent shingles. Dangerous diseases that people aged 50 and over must pay attention to Because aging increases your risk of developing shingles. Including increasing the risk of developing complications from the disease. Some people may experience burning pain in their nerve endings for a long time. Affects everyday life As shingles is a disease for which there is a vaccine, adults aged 50 and over should seek advice from a medical professional.”

Shingles is a disease caused by VZV (Varicella Zoster Virus), the same virus that causes chicken pox More than 90% of adults aged 50 and over are infected with VZV or have had chicken pox . There will be a risk of catching shingles. This is because after chicken pox has occurred and symptoms have improved, the VZV virus hides in the nerve ganglia. When the body is weak or when the immune system declines The virus will come back and cause shingles. It spreads along the sensory nerves. Also causes nerve irritation. There will be a burning pain in the skin. There is a red rash in the area of ​​pain that turns into a clear blister. Often arranged in groups or rows along the nerves. Later, it breaks into blisters and scabs. After the shingles rash goes away, there may be burning pain or pain that feels like being stabbed with needles. It can be constant or come and go, or there can be sudden pain along the nerves after the shingles rash or blisters disappear.

In addition, shingles is not just a rash on the skin. But it also causes other complications such as pain along the nerves after infection. It is common in patients over 50 years of age. In some cases, the pain can last for many years. It has been found that 5-30% of patients with shingles Nerve pain continues for more than 3 months even though the shingles rash has disappeared. And older people have more severe and persistent symptoms than younger people. And it affects life, such as not being able to sleep, having difficulty moving around, not being able to lift heavy things. The organs in that area have no strength. and can move or move that part of the body less Other complications found include worsening bacterial infection, eye inflammation, and corneal ulcers. and ear complications Rumsey Hunting Syndrome Stroke, etc. People with low immunity, such as patients infected with HIV or cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy As for shingles, it can be severe and spread. Rare, serious complications include encephalitis and pneumonia.

Professor Dr. Theeraphong Tantawichian, an infectious disease specialist at Chulalongkorn Hospital said, “shingles is caused by the chicken pox virus that is contracted during childhood. When cured, the virus will hide in our nerve ganglia. Good days and bad days, this virus will appear along the nerves. This causes a long, clear blister along the nerve. There will be a rash for 2-3 weeks and there may be complications. The most prominent group of people at risk of developing shingles are those aged 50 and over who are clearly at risk. The older the age, the greater the risk. It is the condition of the elderly. This condition will occur more often in Thailand in the future, and the second is people with lower immune systems. There are many causes of a lower immune system, such as people who need immune suppressing drugs. People infected with HIV cancer patient This group can be seen to have shingles at a young age, 10 – 30 years old.”

Professor Dr. Sasisopin Kiatburanakul an expert on infectious diseases Ramathibodi Hospital said, “To prevent shingles 1. We always make our bodies healthy. Because a good immune system will reduce the risk of getting shingles 2. Currently, there is a vaccine. This is an important tool to prevent shingles because in addition to making the body strong, But we may be at risk of getting shingles. A highly effective vaccine Therefore, it is a good tool that can prevent shingles. For people who should receive the shingles vaccine, the first group is adults aged 50 and over. The second group are those at risk of shingles aged 18 and over, especially those with compromised immune systems.”

Associate Professor (Special) Dr Thawee Chotipitayasunon Queen Sirikit National Institute of Children’s Health said, “The scary thing about shingles in the elderly is that patients are likely to have chronic pain that lasts for months. The pain is very severe. Even if they take painkillers, it often doesn’t go away Also, in some cases it can develop into a stroke, blockage or tear in a blood vessel in the brain. So, as we once knew The shingles are only the skin. But the truth is that there is more to her than that. Studies have found that shingles occurs when people are 50 years of age and older. There is a higher chance of So, everyone over 50 is like having a ticking time bomb. Waiting for the day when it explodes into the eagle It was asked when it will explode? When the body is weak people who are getting old The body will get weaker.”

Elderly people and people with weakened immune systems So, you should not be careless and start preventing shingles. By eating nutritious food Get enough sleep. Exercise regularly to keep your body healthy. and receiving vaccinations

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