The heart is powered by several muscles. But if one of the big heart muscles is not working properly because it is inflamed, it threatens enormous damage. Therefore, in the third part of the series "The most common heart diseases" we want to take a look at the myocarditis (myocarditis).
Myocarditis is not a separate disease, but a collective term for various inflammations of the heart muscle. The inflammation can have different causes. As a rule, the heart muscle inflammation runs harmlessly and without symptoms to develop. Then she is safe. The fact that one usually does not notice myocarditis makes it so dangerous. Because a heart muscle inflammation can lead to cardiac arrhythmia and even sudden cardiac death.
How many people really had or have had myocarditis is unknown. Estimates in the US estimate that between 1 and 10 cases per year occur for every 100,000 inhabitants.
The heart muscle inflammation is a frequent consequence of a flu infection. Physicians assume that in 1-5 percent of all flu patients also affects the heart and the heart muscle is inflamed. If you stress the heart here, the risk of serious heart problems increases.
Causes of myocarditis
It is estimated that around half of all myocarditis cases are caused by enteroviruses. Also influenza viruses and mumps viruses and some other pathogens can affect the heart muscle. Also bacterial pathogens, even fungi and parasites can cause the inflammation, so that a clearer "culprit" can not be identified. Therefore, protection against myocarditis is also difficult.
Symptoms of myocarditis
As already mentioned, no specific symptoms develop in myocarditis. In most patients, myocarditis remains undetected. The others may experience nonspecific symptoms such as tiredness, fever, shortness of breath, general malaise or palpitations in which one perceives one's own heartbeat. About 60 percent of the cases are preceded by a flu infection, which often has the same concomitant symptoms. Therefore, the myocarditis often remains undetected.
Heart failure, cardiac arrhythmia, heart attack
When the heart muscle inflammation produces clear symptoms, occur in 10-30 percent chest pain, reminiscent of a heart attack. At around 5-15 percent it comes to cardiac arrhythmia. In 60-70 percent acute heart failure (heart failure) occurs. It is dramatic in 5-10 percent of all myocarditis. With them, the heart muscle inflammation results in a cardiogenic shock.
To rule out this risk, you should protect the heart in any case even with a flu with a high fever and even pay attention to his heart rhythm. One day a day you should exercise no fever or at least consult his doctor before you become active. This also includes longer walks or physical work in the fresh air. A cardiologist can recognize, for example, on the X-ray image, if the heart muscle is inflamed. Then the heart is enlarged under the x-ray. Even under MRI, myocarditis is usually detectable.
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