Monday, 2 December 2013

Mangosteen Help for Combating Shingles Attacks

Names can surely be deceiving, for who would have thought that a disease innocently named as “shingles” actually pertains to a chickenpox-like disease known as herpes zoster?

Shingles or herpes zoster is basically caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox, the varicella zoster virus. When a person contracts chickenpox, the virus does not totally leave his body. It stays dormant for many years, until it finds an opportunity to re-attack the body and reappear as shingles. This often happens to immunocompromised individuals, as not all people who had chickenpox in the past will develop shingles later in their lives. Also, it follows that people who had not been afflicted with chickenpox before have no chance to develop herpes zoster.

Causes and predisposing factors

As mentioned before, the single known cause of herpes zoster is the reactivation of the varicella zoster virus. However, nobody exactly knows why the virus is reactivated, though there are some speculations as to the reason behind the “waking up” of the virus.

Stress and fatigue are two of the main predisposing factors being looked upon in shingles. Also, a weakened immune system can also be another factor, since the body is not fit to keep the virus at bay if its immune system is compromised. An example of a circumstance in which the body cannot fight the virus is during times of illness. When the body is also undergoing radiation therapy or chemotherapy, such as in the treatment of cancer, the immune system also becomes suppressed, thus paving the way for the virus to wake up from its dormant state.

Symptoms

Shingles is generally a disease of the nervous system, because it affects the nerve cell bodies. Shingles initially starts with non-specific symptoms, such as fever, malaise, and headache, which can be experienced in almost any other type of disease. However, the first herpes zoster-specific symptom is pain on just one side of the body. The sensations used to describe this one-sided pain are numbing, aching, stinging, tingling, shooting, and throbbing. Oftentimes, this pain is punctuated by short moments of “lightning bolt” pain.

After about three days, the person will already notice rashes starting to cover one side of his body. Remember that these rashes follow the nerve pathways, so that it only appears unilaterally. These rashes start at the torso, and then spread to the other parts of the body, such as the face and the extremities.

The appearance of the rashes typically looks like hives – red, raised bumps. Later on, the rashes develop into pus-filled blisters, and in about two to three weeks, they will begin to crust and form into scabs. Scarring may happen especially if the blisters are severe.

Treatment

Since the disease is caused by a virus, shingles is self-limiting. However, you can still take antiviral drugs early during the course of the disease, since that is the time that it is most effective.

Antiviral medications that are often prescribed for patients with shingles include acyclovir, valacyclovir, and famciclovir. Unfortunately, these medications do not entirely cure the disease; it only shortens its duration and lessens the severity of its symptoms. These drugs are no longer effective if taken during the latter part of the disease, so make sure that you consult your doctor right away when you start feeling the symptoms.

There are also traditional ways to manage shingles. First of all, it is important to avoid scratching the rashes. Just like chickenpox, shingles rashes can be very itchy, but scratching them will only increase the risk of those rashes getting infected. Moreover, it might lead to scarring once the blisters heal. The person with shingles can use oral or topical antihistamines in order to relieve itching and decrease inflammation.

It is also necessary to have pain medications on hand. Most of the time, doctors only prescribe pain medications since herpes zoster resolves by itself in 2 to 3 weeks. Examples of these analgesics include acetaminophen and ibuprofen. These are also prescribed not just for the shingles rash itself, but also for postherpetic neuralgia, which is the pain felt by people with shingles even after the rashes have gone.

In order to speed up the crusting process, tap water compresses may help. These should be applied to fresh blisters for about 20 minutes at a time, several times a day. Aside from drying the blisters, these compresses can also soothe the itch, remove the scabs, and decrease the risk of incurring secondary bacterial infections. However, watch out for excessive dryness of the skin, as continuous application of tap water compresses long after the blisters have crusted can make the skin dry and itchy.

Finally, nothing beats hygiene in trying to recover from a disease caused by microorganisms. Simply washing the affected area with soap and water can help in the healing process. Moreover, one can also apply petroleum jelly to the rashes. Clothes worn should be loose enough to avoid rubbing against the rashes and making them itchier and more painful. To avoid further complications, do not expose yourself to ill people, since your immune system is weak and cannot vigilantly defend your body.

Natural supplements

There had been many testimonials regarding the effectiveness of mangosteen supplements in the treatment of shingles. Because shingles is not exactly a one-time disease and recurs every time the immune system is suppressed, it is very hard to deal with it. Taking mangosteen supplements can reputedly help keep shingles in remission, as what was stated in various testimonies from shingles patients.

Aside from being able to help treat shingles, mangosteen also has analgesic properties. Since shingles is a painful disease, this pain-relieving property of mangosteen can help a person with shingles manage pain. Also, it will avoid dependence to certain analgesics.

Among all the different forms of mangosteen supplements, the freeze dried or powdered form is the most advisable because it is 100% concentrated. One can be very certain that he gets all the nutrients that mangosteen has to offer because there are no preservatives added to the mangosteen powder. Moreover, it is cheaper than other forms.

Mangosteen supplements are obviously cheaper and more natural than drugs prescribed for shingles, so why not give them a try?

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