Myocarditis – causes, side effects and treatments at NaturalPedia.com

Tuesday, May 22, 2018 by

Myocarditis is a disease that is characterized by the inflammation of the heart muscle. This is an uncommon disease and is caused by an infection that reaches the heart.

When a patient is infected, their immune system produces special cells to fight off disease. If the infection affects the heart, the disease-fighting cells enter the heart. But the chemicals produced by these cells may damage the heart muscle. Because of this damage, the heart can become thick, swollen, and weak.

Myocarditis can be caused by a virus that reaches the heart such as adenovirus, coxsackievirus, cytomegalovirus, influenza (flu) virus, parvovirus, and others.

The disease can also be caused by bacterial infections like chlamydia, Lyme disease, mycoplasma, and streptococcus.

Other causes of myocarditis may include:

  • Autoimmune disorders that cause inflammation throughout the body
  • Exposure to chemicals in the environment (e.g., heavy metals)
  • Infections caused by fungus or parasites
  • Radiation
  • Reactions to certain medicines (e.g., certain chemotherapy drugs)

Sometimes the cause of myocarditis remains unknown.

The disease is called pediatric myocarditis when it occurs in young patients.

Known side effects of myocarditis

Myocarditis is a dangerous disease because it affects anyone regardless of age. Sometimes, individuals do not experience any side effects.

If a patient does experience the side effects of myocarditis, most of them are similar to those associated with the flu, like:

  • Chest pains
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Joint pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Swelling of the lower extremity

Most cases of myocarditis get resolved on their own, and sometimes, cases that take a while to resolve aren’t linked to any side effects. However, these cases could involve damage to the heart muscle and heart failure symptoms may gradually appear.

Sometimes, it is easier to diagnose myocarditis due to side effects like chest pain, heart failure, heart palpitations, and shortness of breath.

Risk factors for myocarditis may include:

  • Autoimmune/immune-mediated diseases
  • HIV infection
  • Infection (non-HIV)
  • Smallpox vaccination

Body systems harmed by myocarditis

Myocarditis may cause the following complications:

  • Severe damage to the heart – The body’s immune system response, due to a virus or other infection that causes myocarditis, may result in damage like those caused by certain chemicals or autoimmune diseases that can cause the disease. This damage can then cause heart failure and even death. However, these cases are rare since the majority of individuals with myocarditis recover and resume healthy heart activity.
  • Sudden death – About nine percent of autopsies of adults indicate inflammation of the heart muscle. The number goes up to 12 percent for autopsies of young adults that confirm heart muscle inflammation.
  • Other complications – This can include problems with the heart’s rhythm or rate, heart attack, and stroke. An urgent heart transplant may be required in some cases.

Food items or nutrients that may prevent myocarditis

The following foods or nutrients can help prevent myocarditis and reduce inflammation:

  • Fatty fish – Like mackerel, salmon, sardines, and tuna.
  • Fruits – Like blueberries, cherries, oranges, and strawberries.
  • Green leafy vegetables – Like collards, kale, and spinach.
  • Nuts – Like almonds and walnuts.
  • Olive oil
  • Tomatoes

Treatments, management plans for myocarditis

Treatment for myocarditis aims to resolve the cause of the problem, and it may include:

  • Antibiotics – Helps fight bacterial infection.
  • Anticoagulants/blood thinners – Anticoagulants are drugs given to patients who have a blood clot in the heart chamber.
  • Diuretics – Helps remove excess water from the body.
  • A heart transplant – This may be required if the heart muscle has become very weak or if the patient has other health problems.
  • Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) – IVIg is a medicine made of antibodies, which the body produces to fight infection. IVIg helps control the inflammatory process in patients with myocarditis.
  • Medications – Medication for heart failure may be required if a patient has a weak heart muscle. Other drugs may be prescribed if an individual has abnormal heart rhythms.
  • A pacemaker or implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) – These devices help correct an irregular heartbeat.
  • Steroids – Helps minimize swelling.

Where to learn more

Summary

Myocarditis is a disease that is characterized by the inflammation of the heart muscle. This is an uncommon disease and it is often caused by an infection that reaches the heart.

If a patient does experience the side effects of myocarditis, most of them are similar to those associated with the flu-like chest pains, fatigue, and fever.

Myocarditis may cause complications like severe damage to the heart and sudden death.

Fatty fish, fruits, green leafy vegetables, nuts, olive oil, and tomatoes can help prevent myocarditis and reduce inflammation.

Treatment for myocarditis aims to resolve the cause of the problem, and it may include antibiotics, anticoagulants/blood thinners, diuretics, a heart transplant, intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg), medications, a pacemaker or implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD), or steroids.

Sources include

MedlinePlus.gov

Healthline.com

BestPractice.BMJ.com

Health.Harvard.edu



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