My Experience With Shingles Essay
After contracting chicken pox, the virus remains in nervous tissue in clusters of neurons called sensory ganglia. These are adjacent to the brain and spinal cord. When the virus reactivates, it travels along the neurons' axons that reach the skin where the telltale rash appears (“Shingles: Hope through research”). The rash is typically is seen along one one nerve pathway, usually somewhere on the trunk of the body. This means that, unlike chicken pox, the rash only appears on a relatively small part of the skin. Shingles appear most commonly around one dermatome, an area of the body supplied by sensory nerve fibers associated with a particular dorsal root of a spinal nerve (Shier, Butler, & Lewis, p. 858). After that, shingles are most common on one side of the face around the eye and forehead (“Shingles: Hope through research”).
One thing that caused confusion for my diagnosis was my age. About half of shingles cases are seen in patients over the age of 50 (Jacobsen & Hull, p. 42). Other than that though, I had all of the classic symptoms that practitioners use for diagnosis. Laboratory tests are rarely used or needed for shingles diagnoses. Usually the symptoms are clear enough for diagnosis. Shingles can cause pain and abnormally strong sensitivity at the site of the affected nerve pathway, an overall feeling of malaise, headache,