Patho Patho #70

Question

How does the registered nurse describe the pathophysiology of shingles to a newly graduated nurse?

Answers

  1. 1. “A chronic, incurable disorder with remissions and exacerbations that is caused by reactivation of a previous bacterial infection.”
    • Rationale:

      This answer choice is not correct because shingles is the reactivation of a dormant virus and is not a bacterial infection.

  2. 2. Abnormal thickening of the epidermis which causes the development of silvery-white plaques on certain areas of the body.”
    • Rationale:

      This answer choice is not correct as this is a description of psoriasis and not shingles.

  3. 3. “The reactivation of a dormant virus by a life stressor.”
    • Rationale:

      This answer is correct because shingles is caused by a reactivation of the dormant varicella virus.

  4. 4. “A chronic disorder caused by an overproduction of collagen.”
    • Rationale:

      This answer choice is not correct because this more closely describes the skin disorder scleroderma as opposed to shingles.

Overview

The focus of this question is asking the nurse to describe the pathophysiology of shingles. Shingles is also known as herpes zoster and is a reactivation of the dormant varicella virus. Usually triggered by a physiologic or psychological stressor, shingles manifests as painful lesions that appear in a dermatomal pattern usually on one side of the body.

Explanation

Learning Outcomes

Shingles, herpes zoster, is a viral disease that is characterized by painful skin lesions with blisters in a localized area usually on one side of the body. The underlying pathophysiology of shingles is a reactivation of the dormant varicella virus by some type of life stressor. The rash usually heals within 2-4 weeks but potential complications include postherpetic neuralgia or vision loss if lesions are located near the eyes.

Test Taking Tip

When learning the underlying pathophysiology of disease processes, it is helpful to draw out in a step by step fashion what is occurring at the cellular level leading to development of the disease process.

Video Rationale