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Understanding Myocarditis

Myocarditis is a serious type of heart disease that requires close monitoring by cardiologists. Thousands of people of all ages are diagnosed with this condition each year. Although myocarditis is relatively rare, it is important to be informed about the symptoms so you can see a heart doctor for evaluation if they appear. Here is what you need to know about this condition.

Causes

Myocarditis is a type of inflammation of the heart that leads to muscle damage. It is usually caused by a virus, such as a respiratory infection, or an autoimmune disease, such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis. Occasionally, it is triggered by cocaine use, exposure to toxic metals, or venomous snake or spider bites. Most people who get myocarditis are otherwise healthy and don’t have other heart conditions. It can occur at any age and is a leading cause of sudden death in young patients.

Symptoms

The first and most common symptom of myocarditis is shortness of breath, usually after exertion. Typically, the shortness of breath will progress until you have difficulty breathing while lying down at night. Leg swelling, fatigue, heart palpitations, and chest pain may also occur, as can unconsciousness and lightheadedness. Some patients have severe symptoms while others experience few, if any, signs of the disease. If myocarditis is caused by an infection, symptoms usually occur seven to 14 days after the initial infection.

Treatment

If you are diagnosed with myocarditis through an ECG, x-ray, MRI, or heart biopsy, your heart doctor will treat you with medications, and in some cases, implantable devices such as pacemakers and implantable defibrillators. Most people recover from myocarditis with no long-term side effects, but some patients experience chronic heart disease and require ongoing treatment and even a heart transplant.

If you experience heart disease symptoms, make an appointment for a consultation at Cardiac Solutions. Our cardiologists near Phoenix treat a range of conditions and can help you manage your heart health. For more information about our services and cardiologists, please call (623) 876-8816.

Tips for Adjusting to a Pacemaker

An implantable cardiac device, such as a pacemaker, can dramatically improve your quality of life, but some adjustment is necessary at first. If your heart doctor recommends a pacemaker because of heart disease, he or she will give you tips on making a smooth transition. These tips will also help.

After you get a pacemaker, start by scheduling post-implantation check-ups so that your heart doctor can track the effectiveness of your device. If you hear a noise coming from your device, let your doctor know right away so he or she can make necessary adjustments. Passing through airport security and store anti-theft detectors is generally safe if you walk through swiftly and move away. Talk to your doctor about using home power tools, as some could interfere with your device.

The cardiologists in Phoenix at Cardiac Solutions can help you live with a full life with your implantable cardiac device . Whether you have recently been diagnosed with heart disease or need treatment for a heart arrhythmia, we can help. To make an appointment with one of our cardiologists, please call (623) 876-8816.