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Can Shingles Cause Further Health Complications?

Caused by the same virus responsible for chickenpox, shingles outwardly manifests as a painful skin eruption that typically forms a girdle around the entire midsection. While challenging enough on its own, shingles can also be responsible for many additional health issues. In fact, nearly one in every four people diagnosed with shingles will experience some manner of complication either during or after the shingles outbreak. This makes it vital for Redondo Beach caregivers to make sure their elderly loved ones receive immediate medical attention as soon as the first signs of shingles appear.

High Blood Pressure

Living with unchecked pain from shingles and no reasonable plan for managing it can actually have a detrimental impact on your loved one’s heart rate and blood pressure, but seeking treatment for this issue can help protect his or her cardiovascular health. Though shingles are caused by a virus and must therefore run their course, there are still things doctors can do to suppress this virus and alleviate some of the associated discomfort so it does not lead to high blood pressure.

Secondary Skin Infections

Shingles can also increase the likelihood of secondary skin infections. Wherever the shingles rash is present, your loved one has a higher risk of bacterial infection. Scratching the rash and creating openings in the skin further increases this risk. Having a plan in place for addressing any excessive itching is therefore essential for limiting the impact this illness has on your loved one’s body.

Postherpetic Neuralgia

Although fairly uncommon, some people experience a side effect of shingles known as postherpetic neuralgia (PHN). This is a prolonged nerve pain in the affected areas that can last for months or even years after a shingles rash has disappeared. PHN pain can include sharp, shooting, or stabbing sensations, excessive tenderness, and burning.

Impaired Vision

Although shingles most commonly appear around the torso, this rash can also be present on the face. Shingles can become especially problematic when facial rashes spread to the eyes. People who have shingles in or around the eye can experience immediate or delayed vision impairment. If your loved one has shingles in this area, he or she should receive immediate medical attention.

Hearing and Balance Issues

Much like shingles are capable of affecting vision, they can also have a negative impact on hearing and balance. Ramsay Hunt Syndrome (RHS) is a complication of shingles that causes paralysis in the facial nerves. The side effects of RHS include hearing impairment, balance problems, and weakening of the facial muscles in the affected areas.

Whether it is shingles or another complication, it’s important to make sure your loved one’s health is managed properly to avoid more serious issues. To learn more about how to help keep your loved one healthy, reach out to Home Care Assistance. All of our caregivers are trained in the Balanced Care Method, an evidence-based program designed to promote excellent senior health. For more information on elderly home care Redondo Beach families trust, call one of our experienced Care Managers at (310) 504-0506 to schedule a free consultation.