Myocarditis – A Sneaky Hard-To-Diagnose Disease (Part 2)

Inflammation of the heart muscle or myocarditis can be responsible for cardiac dysfunction such as arrhythmias, heart failure (the heart muscle is enlarged and thus the cardiac output is inefficient) or even sudden death. This inflammatory disease can be acute or chronic, attack the heart muscle in a focal or diffuse manner. You should be aware that even if the inflammation heals, it may leave scars that can trigger fatal arrhythmias. Because of this, the inflammation needs to be contained as soon as possible. In order to achieve this, the immune system must generally be strengthened. In the case of bacterial infection, antibiotics are indicated; in the case of viruses, antivirals are rarely indicated, but rest and an improvement in immunity are usually the only options. Myocarditis is often the result of an infection of the teeth, upper respiratory tract, tonsils or appendix, etc. that have not been properly treated or even neglected.

Making the diagnosis is really difficult. In athletes, myocarditis can run insidiously without symptoms in the heart, it can occur in the form of a spatially limited inflammation, but also in its most severe, the diffuse form, especially then it can lead to permanent damage to the heart (heart failure). Myocarditis can be the cause of cardiac arrhythmias in the atrium and ventricle.

The bad thing is that the heart often appears normal on EKG, sonography or X-ray or mimics a heart attack with the typical pain behind the sternum. A decline in performance can be the only discrete sign of progressive heart muscle inflammation. Blood tests for viruses or bacteria often remain ambiguous and unspecific, and even MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) lacks diagnostic accuracy. Fainting or sudden death after strenuous exercise could then have been the first sad signs of this dramatic illness.

I think that listening carefully to an athlete’s anamnesis of how the decline in performance came about can help or contribute to diagnosing myocarditis in good time and saving the athlete from an endomyocardial biopsy, which is considered to be The gold standard for diagnosing myocarditis applies.

If the athlete complains of tiredness, shortness of breath, palpitations, feeling of pressure over the heart, one should consider myocarditis as a diagnosis, especially if the person has recently had the flu was ill.

Is exercise good or bad?

Generally speaking, physical activity is the healthiest approach to avoiding inflammatory diseases of any kind. Regular exercise improves immunity and makes you more resistant to stress. However, if you overdo it, disregard your individual performance limits, and ignore discreet signs of illness, a single session of strenuous exercise, as well as constant overtraining, can make you more susceptible to a wide range of infections to the point of long-term, chronic infections could be. Such infections increase the chances of developing myocarditis. If a pathogen remains active in your body, the immune system is unable to contain the process, then the heart can be affected; the microbes * spread, the local immune response turns into a smoldering diffuse inflammatory process. You have already read about what can follow in the previous paragraphs. Strong immunity is therefore one of the prerequisites for preventing, controlling and curing this disease.

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