Heart Disease: What is Myocarditis and How Can it be Treated?

Heart Disease

Heart Disease: Myocarditis & Treatment

Myocarditis is a type of heart disease caused by inflammation of the heart muscle. The symptoms of myocarditis are often subtle, but can include chest pain, fatigue, shortness of breath and heart palpitations. If left untreated, myocarditis can lead to serious complications, including a heart attack, an abnormal heart rhythm, and even death.

Causes of Myocarditis

Myocarditis can be caused by a number of different infectious agents such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites, and even certain drugs. The most common causes of myocarditis are viruses such as the common cold virus, Coxsackie virus and the influenza virus. In some cases, myocarditis can also be caused by toxins and allergens.

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Symptoms of Myocarditis

Common symptoms of myocarditis include:

  • Chest pain
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Heart palpitations
  • Lightheadedness
  • Fever

In some cases, there may be no visible symptoms and the condition may be discovered during a routine medical exam.

Diagnosing Myocarditis

Myocarditis is usually diagnosed with a combination of tests, including a physical exam, electrocardiogram (ECG), echocardiogram, and blood tests. In some cases, a cardiac MRI or a cardiac CT scan may be needed to diagnose the condition.

Treatment of Myocarditis

The treatment of myocarditis depends on the underlying cause. Most cases of viral myocarditis can be treated with antiviral medications. If myocarditis is caused by a bacterial infection, antibiotics may be used. Patients with myocarditis may also be advised to get plenty of rest, avoid strenuous activity, and to take heart medications as prescribed. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to repair any damage to the heart muscle.

Preventing Myocarditis

The best way to prevent myocarditis is to take steps to improve your overall heart health. This means eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, quitting smoking, and getting regular medical check-ups. It is also important to avoid contact with anyone who has a contagious illness and to wash your hands frequently to help prevent the spread of infection.

Myocarditis is a serious condition, but it can be prevented and treated with prompt medical care. If you have any of the symptoms described above, it is important to contact your doctor right away for an evaluation.

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