What is myocarditis?

Myocarditis involves inflammation of the muscular walls of the heart. The inflammation might damage the heart muscle. As a result, the heart weakens and could not adequately pump, thus unable to propel enough blood to the entire body.

What are the possible causes?

There are various factors that can lead to the inflammation of the heart such as:

  • Viral infections
  • Reactions to certain drugs
  • Autoimmune ailments such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus
  • Certain parasites
  • Exposure to chemicals such as arsenic, lead and carbon monoxide

The trigger for the inflammation is not always known. Once the cause is unknown, it is called as an idiopathic form.

myocarditis

Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, initially during exercise or even while at rest in the late phase.

What are the signs?

Oftentimes, there are no signs. Once the symptoms manifest, they are the signs of heart failure such as:

  • Easily running short of energy
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, initially during exercise or even while at rest in the late phase
  • Waking up at night with difficulty breathing or there is difficulty lying flat due to shortness of breath
  • Enlarged ankles and feet along with weight gain due to the excess fluid in the body

Management of myocarditis

The objective of treatment for myocarditis is to lessen the inflammation, promote improve pumping action of the heart and reduce the damage to the heart muscle.

In most cases, the treatment includes the following:

  • Pain medications
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Heart medications to regulate the heart rate and improve the pumping action of the heart

In some cases, an intra-aortic balloon pump is utilized to assist the pumping action of the heart.

If myocarditis is brought about by a disease, proper treatment of the disease is enough. Oftentimes, myocarditis can lead to lasting damage to the heart muscle.

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