Tip of the Week
Larry Bowa may be known for his baseball prowess and fiery personality, but in June 2013, the two-time Golden Glove-winner was stopped in his tracks by a case of shingles, which he says caused him some of the worst pain of his life. Bowa said the pain he felt was so intense he could barely walk, originally leading him to think he had injured his back. But his MRI came back negative, and he received instead an unexpected diagnosis of shingles.
“I was a professional athlete for most of my life, and I’m still an active guy, so I was surprised to find that I developed a disease this painful,” said Bowa, 67.
Bowa learned that he was at risk for shingles simply because he had had chickenpox, which according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 98 percent of US adults has had.
Shingles is the common name for herpes zoster, a disease caused by reactivation of the varicella zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. This virus never leaves the body. Instead, it lies dormant in the nervous system, and at some point later in life, it can reactivate and erupt as shingles and as you get older your risk increases.
The first symptoms of shingles are often felt, but may not be seen, and may initially include itching, tingling or burning in a specific area on one side of the face or body.
“Before I had shingles, I didn’t know anything about the disease, and I think this is the case for most people despite the fact almost everyone knows someone who has had it,” Bowa said.
To learn more about shingles, talk to your doctor or pharmacist and visit shinglesinfo.com.
Number to Know
1 million: According to the CDC, one in three people will get shingles in their lifetime, and there are approximately 1 million cases of shingles each year in the United States.
“Parents play a daily role in promoting lifelong health by focusing on positive ways to nurture brain development, starting in infancy and extending through the toddler years,” says Dr. James M. Perrin, 2014 president of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Be aware of what your face is “saying,” Perrin said. “Temper negative feelings because your baby is feeling them as well. Infants let us know when they’ve had enough and it’s time for a nap by avoiding eye contact, becoming sleepy or fussy, coughing or rubbing his or her eyes.”
Hearing loss becomes more common with age; almost half (47 percent) of people over 75 have hearing loss. For people who have severe to profound deafness, cochlear implants are an increasingly common option. Those who have lost their hearing completely in their 60s and 70s do not want to live the rest of their life in silence.
New research suggests a connection between white matter and healthy brain activity. Scientists from the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging at the University of Kentucky have identified a connection between the health of the brain tissue that supports cognitive functioning and the presence of dementia in adults with Down syndrome. The study could lead to the potential for the identification of biomarkers connected to the development of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease.
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Health Watch: Learn more about shingles
Tip of the Week