Doctors do need to have a higher index of suspicion when a young person comes in with unusual heart symptoms - Dr. Michael Smith


image by: Physiotherapy Foundation Of Bangladesh

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When a young person suddenly develops heart problems, think Lyme disease

Usually a manifestation of an underlying systemic infectious or inflammatory condition, carditis, once a common complication of rheumatic fever can be associated with Lyme disease...

Early last spring, Hannah Sowers noticed she was having trouble keeping up with her track teammates and even when she was relaxing; her heart was doing acrobatics in her chest.

"I noticed my heart would speed up fast and then stop and give one big squeeze and then start up. It felt really odd," said the 20-year-old Monaghan Township college junior. She mentioned it to her family, but since she didn't have any other symptoms and "weird heart palpitations" run in their family, she didn't pursue it.


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 When a young person suddenly develops heart problems, think Lyme disease

In his experience, Lyme carditis often occurs in the absence of hallmark Lyme symptoms such as rash or joint pain. Sometimes, the condition causes third-degree or complete heart block, which means electrical impulses don't pass from the top to the bottom chambers of the heart at all.

Inflammatory heart disease, i.e. carditis, remains an ill-defined disorder caused by viral or bacterial infection and autoimmune processes. Often pericardial effusion ("fluid around the heart") occurs. When pericardial effusion has to be removed and drugs have to be instilled into the pericardial space, the pericardium must be punctured without injuring the underlying heart muscle.

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

You may have different signs and symptoms depending on the type and severity of the heart inflammation that you have.

Myocarditis Foundation

Myocarditis is a disease marked by inflammation and damage of the heart muscle. Although the exact incidence of myocarditis is not known, it is estimated that several thousand patients per year are diagnosed in the United States.

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