Everything You Need To Know About Myocarditis By Gabriela Pinder
Myocarditis The inflammation of the heart muscle.
Symptoms Myocarditis can virtually have no noticeable symptoms, but the most frequent symptom of myocarditis is pain in the chest. When myocarditis is more serious, it leads it leads the heart muscle to weaken. After Myocarditis causes heart failure, it has symptoms of shortness of breath, fatigue, fluid accumulation in the lungs, etc., and the heart rhythm begins to have irregularities due to the inflammation and/or scarring of the electrical system of the heart.
Causes Myocarditis can be caused by a variety of infections and conditions such as viruses, sarcoidosis, and immune diseases, like systemic lupus, etc., pregnancy, and others. The most common cause of myocarditis is infection of the heart muscle by a virus. The virus invades the heart muscle to cause local inflammation. After the infection subsides, the body's immune system still continues to inflict inflammatory damage to the heart muscle. Because of this immune response the myocarditis is actually going to be prolonged.
Statistics In 25% of adults, the first sign of heart disease is sudden death from a heart attack. Heart attacks strike approximately 865,000 people in the United States each year, causing more than 179,000 deaths.
Risk Factors Because most heart attacks result from atherosclerosis, the risk factors for heart attack and atherosclerosis are basically the same: • An abnormally high level of blood cholesterol • An abnormally low level of HDL, a.k.a. "good cholesterol“ • High blood pressure (hypertension) • Diabetes • Genetic coronary artery disease at an early age and/or Obesity • Cigarette smoking • Physical inactivity (too little regular exercise) In the early middle age, men have a greater risk of heart attack than women. However, a woman's risk increases once she begins menopause. This could be the result of a menopause-related decrease in levels of estrogen, a female sex hormone that may offer some protection against atherosclerosis.
Diagnosis Myocarditis is diagnosed when signs of irritation of the heart muscle are detected. Blood tests for heart muscle enzymes, called CPK levels, can be elevated. Electrical testing, called EKG,can suggest irritation of heart muscle and can show the irregular beating of the heart. Nuclear heart scan testing can show irregular areas of heart muscle.
Treatment Except in systemic sarcoidosis and immune inflammation, from systemic lupus erythematous, where myocarditis can respond to corticosteroids, no proven effective medications are currently available for treating active myocarditis. Treatment measures mainly involves alleviating heart failure (salt restriction, water pills, ACE inhibitors, beta blockers, etc.) and treating as well as monitoring heart rhythm abnormalities.
Bibliography • "Heart Attack (Myocardial Infarction)." Heart Attack (Myocardial Infarction). 23 Aug. 2013 <http://www.healthcentral.com/heart-disease/guide-154383-75.html?ic=506048>. • "Myocarditis Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment - MedicineNet." MedicineNet. 23 Aug. 2013 <http://www.medicinenet.com/myocarditis/article.htm>.