What is Myocarditis?
Myocarditis, or inflammation of the heart muscle, is a condition caused by the body’s immune response to infection.
COVID-19 and Myocarditis
Along with the common respiratory issues, cases of COVID-19-related myocarditis may be caused by a combination of direct viral injury to the heart and cardiac damage due to the patient’s immune response.
According to studies reported by the Mayo Clinic, “of people hospitalized for COVID-19, between 10 and 25 percent of them, depending on the study, have cardiac damage. Most of these patients are older and have pre-existing heart conditions. However, when young, otherwise healthy people experience certain symptoms, it’s more likely to be related to myocarditis.”
Recognizing The Symptoms
In some cases, patient’s don’t notice their symptoms or pass them off as other “normal” effects of the virus. Here are some to look out for:
- Shortness of breath
- Abnormal heartbeat, which might cause fainting
- Sharp or stabbing chest pain or pressure, which may spread to your neck and shoulders
- Painful joints
- Swollen joints, legs, or neck veins
- Small amounts of pee
What To Do If You Suspect Myocarditis
If you are worried about your heart function (whether related to COVID-19 or otherwise) the best course of action is to schedule an appointment with your doctor.
If your doctor suspects you have myocarditis, he or she may perform tests, including blood tests, physical exams, chest x-ray, echocardiography and electrocardiograms to examine heart function. If you are diagnosed with myocarditis, a minimum course of action would be rest and abstaining from sports for at least 3 months. More serious cases might require medication or even hospitalization depending on the patient.
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