Justin Bieber's New Illness Becoming Common With Young Adults

By Pamela Glass | Sunday, 19 June 2022 16:45
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Multi-Grammy award winner Justin Bieber has disclosed that he suffers from Ramsay Hunt syndrome, a rare neurological disorder that can end in facial paralysis. Caused by the varicella zoster virus, which causes chicken pox in children and shingles in adults, the syndrome initiates “a shingles outbreak that affects the facial nerve near one of your ears,” according to the Mayo Clinic. In addition to the painful shingles rash, Ramsay Hunt syndrome can generate facial paralysis and hearing loss in the affected ear. Not a pleasant prospect for Bieber, a musician who is just 28 years old.

According to Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, complete recovery is not sure. Treatment includes steroids like prednisone to relieve inflammation and pain medication. Antiviral medicines that help with the herpes family, like acyclovir or valacyclovir, may be prescribed.

Bieber confirmed fans that his situation will improve and that he was doing “facial exercises to get my face back to normal.” According to The Hill, the condition is somewhat comparable to Bell’s Palsy, though Ramsay Hunt’s effects are more severe. Patients may further not recover completely, say, researchers.

"For those frustrated by my cancellations of the next shows, I'm just physically, obviously not capable of doing them," the musician said. The singer added, "My body's telling me I've got to slow down. I hope you guys understand."

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Bieber explained he is unsure how long he will take to heal. Yet he seemed positive about making a full recovery through rest and therapy.

"I'll be using this time to just rest and relax and get back to a hundred percent, so that I can do what I was born to do," he stated.

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Until now, shingles has been deemed a disease that mainly strikes older adults, because the virus that causes it, varicella zoster, has typically emerged from its slumber later in life as the immune system weakens. The virus lays dormant in nerve cells until it is initiated, generating the painful, blistering shingles rash.

Over the last few decades, the number of shingles cases among younger adults has grown. Specialists think that the reason is that before the chicken pox vaccine was introduced in the mid-1990’s, just about everyone came down with this rough, itchy rash. Since then, the number of chicken pox cases has decreased by 90%, says WebMD. The lack of circulating chicken pox virus has been problematic for shingles, announced epidemiologist Edgar Hope-Simpson, who suggested that being exposed to chicken pox helps boost the immune response against the virus.

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“If what Hope-Simpson said was correct, that opens the possibility that if you reduce exposures to kids with chicken pox, it might mean kids are getting less of this exogenous or external boosting. That might put them at great risk for shingles, and at a younger age,” stated Dr. Rafael Harpaz, who has been studying shingles for 15 years.

Stress may be a different reason for the spike in shingles cases.

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“When we have a lot of stress, our immune system gets temporarily diminished,” states Dr. Jose Montero, a professor of medicine and infectious disease expert from Florida. That temporary weakening might enable the varicella virus to reemerge, stated Montero, who went on to explain that the pain of shingles can be “debilitating in some people.”

Fortunately, although there is no cure for shingles, there is treatment. Your doctor may prescribe antiviral medications like Zovirax or Valtrex that can assist in shortening the duration and intensity of the symptoms, especially in patients over the age of 50 says Dr. Emmanuel Nazario-Irizarry, a board-certified internal medicine physician with Kelsey-Seybold’s Department of Internal Medicine in Texas.

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“I would agree with the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that all healthy patients aged 50 years and older should be vaccinated for shingles even if they have had a prior episode,” he explained, according to Newsmax. “The vaccine helps reduce the risk for developing shingles and lowers the risk of complications. People who have compromised immune systems should be evaluated by their doctor and vaccinated on a case-by-case basis.”

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