Inflammation of the heart muscle or myocarditis
Inflammation of the heart muscle or myocarditis is a disease of the heart muscle (myocardium), most often caused by a viral infection, bacteria, parasites, taking certain medications, drugs, poisoning, contact with heavy metals or may be the result of other diseases. Coxsackie B. virus infection, which is associated with colds and meningitis, is one of the most well-known causes of heart muscle disease. Influenza infection that has not been treated or bacterial diseases such as diphtheria and borreliosis can be causes of myocarditis. A significant number of patients are also observed with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Inflammation of the heart muscle can occur after a fungal infection, due to autoimmune disease or radiation therapy, connective tissue disease, hepatitis, lupus.
A diseased heart is unable to supply the body with enough blood, the heart is increasingly depleted, inflammation leads to enlargement and weakening of the heart, and blood clots can form in the heart, or heart attack or stroke. This inflammation can lead to dangerous heart failure, sudden cardiac death. Myocarditis is a serious disease that is not easy to diagnose because in many cases the symptoms do not appear or the symptoms are nonspecific and may indicate other diseases. In general, heart disease is most commonly associated with the elderly, however inflammation of the heart muscle it occurs in all ages and in both sexes, often in young, healthy people, and in the years from puberty to the early thirties, while the vulnerable population and pregnant women, children and people with weakened immunity.
Symptoms and diagnosis of myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle)
Symptoms of myocarditis can be mild, inconspicuous so-called. asymptomatic inflammation, completely nonspecific, such as when a person feels unwell with a viral infection, but inflammation of the heart muscle it can be a complication with the rapid development of the disease, and cause severe life-threatening heart problems. Inflammation of the heart muscle has the following symptoms: fatigue, intolerance to physical exertion, shortness of breath, chest pain that intensifies on inhalation, a feeling of suffocation, cardiac arrhythmia, fluid retention, swelling of the legs, ankles and feet. Headaches, muscle and joint pain, malaise, shortness of breath, feeling hot, sweating, and sometimes loss of consciousness also occur. In addition to the possible listed symptoms, the disease may be accompanied by loss of appetite and weight loss. In children with myocarditis, the most common symptoms are: fever, fainting, shortness of breath, and bluish or grayish skin color. Body temperature of 38 ° C and above for the past 30 days, especially if accompanied by signs of respiratory or gastrointestinal infection, may also be a feature that increases the suspicion of myocarditis.
In the diagnosis of suspected forms of myocarditis, chest X-rays, heart ultrasound, ECG, laboratory tests, magnetic resonance imaging, and in certain situations myocardial biopsy are performed.
How is heart muscle inflammation treated?
Inflammation of the heart muscle it can be successfully cured, depending on the cause, but it is important to diagnose this serious disease as early as possible in order to avoid complications that can lead to the death of the patient. Preventively, we can influence the way that when we get sick from seemingly “ordinary” viral infections that we often think are harmless and uncomplicated, to keep them as long as necessary, with rest and sparing from physical activity and effort, and if we feel any of the above symptoms myocarditis contact your doctor as soon as possible. In case of fever and pain, due to taking and using medications to lower the temperature and control pain, be sure to consult a doctor first as there is a risk that using over-the-counter medications in the early stages of the disease may lead to additional heart muscle damage.
In milder forms of the disease, the doctor will prescribe rest, rest and prescribe medication to help the body fight the infection that caused myocarditis. If the inflammation of the heart muscle is caused by a bacterial infection, the doctor will prescribe antibiotics to help the heart recover faster. If necessary, medications are prescribed to regulate heart function and help eliminate excess fluid. In most cases, patients with myocarditis will be hospitalized. In the most severe and most dangerous but very rare cases of myocarditis, an urgent heart transplant may be needed.
In addition to regular check-ups with a doctor and taking medication, it is extremely important and necessary to avoid strenuous physical activity for the next six months in further recovery. Sports and other strenuous activities such as sports competitions are completely forbidden, ie physical rest is required. Everyday life needs to be adjusted so as to avoid stress. Avoid stuffy rooms, especially gatherings where there are a lot of people who may be carriers of a respiratory infection, and get vaccinated against viral infections in consultation with a doctor. It is necessary to avoid alcohol, quit smoking and reduce salt intake, and keep the diet as healthy as possible.
- Chest pain
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat (arrhythmias)
- Shortness of breath, at rest or during activity
- Fluid buildup with swelling of the legs, ankles and feet
- Other signs and symptoms of a viral infection such as a headache, body aches, joint pain, fever, a sore throat or diarrhea