Viruses can incidentally affect the heart. They do so often enough that in the Western world, they are the most common cause of myocarditis - Ed Yong
image by: Myocarditis Awareness
My myocarditis story begins like so many others. I came home from a weekend road trip to Canada. After I came home, I called a friend and had a short conversation with him. I started to draft a paper for school. I remember feeling somewhat excited to write this paper, because it was the last assignment that I had to do before my graduation from Law School.
I remember typing, and all of sudden, I had a partial out of body experience. I remember feeling as if one foot was still inside my body, while the other foot had left my body. I thought to myself, “This is really strange; I should probably go to bed.”
As I was sleeping, I started to feel ill. I had no chest pains, but began…
There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of all the survivors and victims of myocarditis. It truly is a devastating illness, and like most people, I had never heard of it.
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.
When myocarditis is severe enough, the pumping action of your heart weakens and your heart is unable to supply the rest of your body with enough oxygen-rich blood. Clots can form in the heart as well, potentially leading to a stroke or heart attack.
Myocarditis can be mild and cause virtually no noticeable symptoms. The most frequent symptom of myocarditis is pain in the chest. When myocarditis is more serious, it leads to weakening of the heart muscle. Myocarditis can then cause heart failure (with symptoms of shortness of breath, fatigue, fluid accumulation in the lungs, etc.) as well as heart rhythm irregularities from inflammation and/or scarring of the electrical system of the heart.
Myocarditis is an uncommon disorder that is usually caused by viral infections that reach the heart, including those due to the Coxsackie virus, adenovirus, and echovirus. It may also occur during or after various viral, bacterial, or parasitic infections (such as polio, influenza, or rubella).
Myocarditis is an inflammation of the heart muscle. There are various causes. Depending on the cause and severity, symptoms and possible problems can range from no symptoms at all, to life-threatening heart failure.
The myocardium is the muscular wall of the heart, or the heart muscle. It contracts to pump blood out of the heart and then relaxes as the heart refills with returning blood. The myocardium's smooth outer membrane is called the epicardium. Its inner lining is called the endocardium.
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