Attack from the inside

Attack from the inside

Dull pain in the left chest, radiating slowly and the breath, and General malaise, many Affected to a heart attack think. However, it is also the first sign of a belt can be rose.

Anyone who has had chickenpox has an increased risk to develop a shingles, also known as Herpes Zoster. Because both diseases are caused by the same pathogen, the varicella-Zoster Virus (VZV). However, the shingles attracts significantly more often long-term, serious complications.

The wind to heal smallpox, wanders nerve, the Virus in the Brain and in the nerve roots of the spinal cord. “There it is hiding in front of the powerful immune system and waits for the body is weakened by illness or unusually large Stress,” says Tilo Biedermann, Director of the clinic and polyclinic for dermatology and Allergology at the Technical University of Munich.

For this reason, people with weakened immune systems are particularly at risk. These include, among others:

  • People that suffer from chronic Asthma or atopic dermatitis,
  • Patients taking immune system-suppressing drugs, such as rheumatics and people with a transplanted Organ,
  • the elderly. More than two-thirds of the shingles patients are older than 50 years.

The Virus is again active in the body, it spreads along the nerve pathways. It cells infiltrate the nerve, which spontaneously ignite and violently pain. Where the virus Hiking, Burning, itching or stabbing pain. To accompany the Affected persons suffer from fever and fatigue. Finally, the excitation Hiking in skin cells. A few days after the first symptoms of closely spaced, belt – or rosette-shaped small red spots form. They are vesicles filled with liquid, in which the highly contagious virus.

The spots often occur around the stomach and chest, gave the disease the name of shingles. Basically, the blisters can occur anywhere on the body, because they appear anywhere where the virus along the nerve moved.

So the shingles will be treated

“Infected neural and skin cells are reprogrammed by the virus and serve, henceforth, the production of new viruses, which go on to infect cells. This process should be as early as possible interrupted,” explains Biedermann. The Antivirals such as Acyclovir, in the Form of tablets or intra-able to achieve venous infusion.

The less virus could migrate along the nerve, the less the impact. “The virus can activate, namely the immune system, which leads to the fact that tissue becomes inflamed and is destroyed,” says Biedermann. Shingles is treated in the first 48 to 72 hours for a week or longer, heals you, usually within four weeks. Pain relievers can help to survive the phase of the Disease better.

Lengthy Complications

The shingles may also have several months or years-lasting consequences if a so-called post-zoster neuralgia occurs. “Early treatment can prevent this nerve pain. It is also important that the usually very excruciating pain will be consistently and adequately treated, for example, with tricyclic antidepressants or opiate-derivatives,” says the expert.

The frequency of postherpetic neuralgia seems to be increasing – at least that was the case in the period between 2005 and 2009. You took according to the data of the German pharmaco epidemiological logical Research Database, approximately 12 percent of the shingles Patients to approximately 15 percent. This may be due to the fact that, overall, older people are affected or that in some cases, only too late will be treated.

In rare cases, if the Virus travels along a cranial nerve, and the rash occurs in the vicinity of the eyes, ears or brain, it can be a one-sided facial paralysis, eye Damage, or inflammation of the brain.

The risk to get at some point in the course of life, shingles is between 20 and 30 percent. Because of the weaker system immune it increases in the case of persons aged 85 and over to more than 50 percent. Also, any complications with increasing age, more and more often.

A shingles can also promote in older people a heart attack or a stroke, shows a in “Plos Medicine” published a study. The risk is in the first disease of the week is particularly high, but even after that, for up to six months increased. “As possible causes closures due to blood clots, malfunction of blood vessels and blood pressure, and increases due to pain or Stress caused by Zoster are conceivable Vessel,” says the Munich-based doctor Biedermann.

The Zoster vaccine 50 years

    There is a so-called Zoster vaccination for people age 50 and over who have had smallpox once wind. The protective effect is, however, just 50 per cent. With increasing age, the protective effect decreases even more. Nevertheless, the vaccination is advisable for those who become ill despite vaccination, has continued a reduced risk for the dreaded long-lasting nerve pain. However, the vaccine may not be carried out if someone takes the immune system suppressive drugs. The vaccine contains attenuated live viruses.

  • Some statutory health insurance companies do not pay the Zoster vaccine, and others. Directly at the own cash demands.
  • A genetically engineered vaccine that offers a significantly higher level of protection, and is currently working. According to the results of a Phase III study, which were published in the “New England Journal of Medicine”, is the protection of well over 90 percent.

The Permanent vaccination Commission STIKO recommends since 2004 for all the children in the second year of a vaccination against chicken pox – to reduce the number of shingles cases. “However, it remains to be seen whether these children are later to develop into really less likely to be shingles,” says Tilo Biedermann , Director of the clinic and polyclinic for dermatology and Allergology at the Technical University of Munich. About The Author

  • Gerlinde Gukelberger-Felix is a physicist and studied for a period of time medicine, to you to journalism prescribed. Particularly interesting, you will find all the Overlaps between medicine, physics, biology, and psychology. She works as a freelance medical and science journalist.