Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments for Myocarditis
Myocarditis is known as a rare disease, but it affects thousands of adults and children alike in the US alone. It may recur after being treated and could lead to chronically enlarged heart or dilated cardiomyopathy.
However, the chances of it recurring is low.
The leading cause of myocarditis is viral infection.
According to the Myocarditis Foundation, when a viral infection happens, the heart’s muscles would get inflamed and would put a stress on the heart that could remain even after the infection has been resolved.
Nevertheless, several health conditions could also lead to myocarditis, including bacterial infections, cancer, and contagious diseases. Being exposed to toxic materials like venom from a snake or a spider or poison from certain types of metals could also cause the inflammation.
In some cases, people with autoimmune conditions would develop something called giant cell myocarditis, wherein the results would cause rapid deterioration of the heart muscles. But as long as it’s detected and treated early, it could still respond well to treatment.
Myocarditis can be hard to diagnose as there is a lack of specific symptoms. The signs could often vary on the severity of the case and what caused it, according to the Harvard Medical School.
Common symptoms may include but is not limited to:
- Shortness of breath, especially when lying down and after exercising
- Heart palpitations
- Sudden loss of consciousness
- Swelling of the feet, ankle, legs, and the hands
- Chest pain and/or pressure
Treatment of myocarditis could also depend on the severity and its cause.
In mild to moderately mild cases, staying at home and limiting strenuous activities can heal the infection. Medication may also be required, depending on the cause. For viral infections, antivirals will be given, although they don’t prove to be as effective in severe cases.
Corticosteroids might help in some cases, especially with giant cell myocarditis.
If the cause is an underlying health problem, the treatment is often focused on the main issue instead of treating the infection directly.
The heart is one of the most important parts of the human body and as much as possible, we should care for it and avoid anything that may cause heart problems. These infections could be avoided, especially if we know the causes. But if it occurs, getting the help of a health professional as soon as possible is highly recommended.