Myocardium is the name of the heart muscle found on the heart wall. When this muscle develops swelling this condition is called viral myocarditis. Since the inflammation is caused by viral infection it is called viral myocarditis. Some of the signs of this condition are intense chest pain, irregular heartbeat and heart failure. This type of swelling will eventually weaken the heart muscle and affects the regular pumping action of the heart. Since enough amount of blood could not be pumped, it would restrict the supply of blood to other body parts giving rise of blood clots which may cause heart attack or stroke.
Symptoms Of Viral Myocarditis :
In mild case of viral myocarditis there may not be any visible symptom. The affected person may feel discomfort and ill without any heart pain. In moderate to severe cases, there may be intense chest pain, irregular heartbeat causing condition of arrhythmia in which heartbeat is rapid and shortness of breath. The affected person may feel breathless even at rest or after any strenuous exercise regimen.
In addition there may be retention of fluid on the extremities like hand and legs causing swelling. For some people, there may be fever, fatigue, and headache and body pain accompanied by chest pain. This disorder can occur in children making them to lose conscious and faint. Further there may be breathing difficulty, choking and bluish color on the skin indicating breathlessness.
Viral Myocarditis Causes :
- It is believed to be caused by coxsackie virus B which spreads its infection beginning with flu. It is the same virus that causes common cold. Cardiac problems are common in people with autoimmune disorders like HIV and cancer.
- Bacteria belonging to group staphylococcus and streptococcus may also cause myocarditis heart infection. Sometimes parasites like Trypanosma and toxoplasma are carried by certain insects could spread this infection in your heart. Candida fungi can also cause heart infection rarely.
- Certain medications like penicillin and sulfa drugs may cause allergic reaction giving rise to inflammation of heart muscle. When a person takes more of illegal drugs like cocaine or morphine he may have heart infection.
Your doctor may confirm the disorder after taking ECG, chest X-ray and MRI scan depending on the severity of the symptoms. He may also do a routine blood culture test for measuring the RBC and WBC count which may indicate the presence of antibodies.
Currently no effective medicines are available for treating active form of viral myocarditis. However your doctor may ascertain the condition of your heartbeat and intensity of infection and prescribe corticosteroid medicines for reducing inflammation. He would put you on low salt diet and prescribe diuretic pills like ACE inhibitors for controlling heartbeat effectively.
- It is easy to prevent myocarditis rather than waiting for treating it. You need to protect your heart by reducing your weight and consumption of salty foods.
- Avoid getting stressed and don’t pressurize your heart with overload of work. People who already have heart problems are at risk of getting myocarditis and hence it is necessary to follow your doctor’s advice.
- Quit smoking and drinking and do regular exercises.
- All these methods are given as general guidance which can reduce the risk of getting myocarditis.