Shingles is a viral infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus, which is the same virus that causes chickenpox. Anyone who has had chickenpox in the past can develop shingles, but certain factors increase the risk of developing the condition:
- Age: Shingles is more common in older adults, especially those over the age of 50.
- Weakened immune system: People with weakened immune systems due to conditions such as HIV/AIDS, cancer, or certain medications are more susceptible to shingles.
- Stress: High levels of stress can weaken the immune system and increase the risk of developing shingles.
- Gender: Women are slightly more likely to develop shingles than men.
- Certain medical conditions: People with certain medical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, or lung disease may have a higher risk of developing shingles.
- Prior injury or trauma: People who have had a prior injury or trauma to the affected nerve may be more likely to develop shingles in that area.
It’s important to note that while anyone can develop shingles, taking steps to maintain a healthy immune system and manage stress levels can help reduce the risk of developing the condition. Vaccination is also recommended for people over the age of 50 to prevent shingles and its complications.