As the name implies, myocarditis is a disorder in which your heart muscle (myocardium) gets inflamed. It can affect the way of how your heart works. If left untreated, it will cause a number of complications which some could be fatal. Typically, it’s characterized by shortness of breath, chest pain, and arrhythmias. How about bruising?
Healthy myocardium is essential to support and keep the heart working effectively. The inflammation of the myocardium reduces the ability of the heart to work normally. As a result, the heart works harder to pump blood around the body. In severe case, its function can decrease significantly and the rest of the body doesn’t receive enough blood supply – clots may also form, causing a heart attack or stroke.
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What causes myocarditis? The exact cause is often not known. Though there are many potential causes, the likelihood of developing the disease is rare. Here are some potential causes to look for:
- Though many times the cause of the disease is not identified, many cases are caused by viral infections. There are many viruses that can lead to myocarditis, but the most common ones are those associated with infections of the upper respiratory tracts.
- Less commonly, the disease is caused by bacterial infections such as streptococcus, tick-borne bacterium (Lyme disease), and staphylococcus.
- Parasites, such as toxoplasma. Some can be transmitted by insect or spider bites.
- Fungal infections such as yeast infection, histoplasma, and molds.
- Rarely, the disease is caused by exposure to radiation or certain chemicals, toxic /adverse reaction to certain medications, and other diseases (such as giant cell arteritis and lupus).
People with a weakened body immune system might be more likely to have myocarditis since their immune systems are weak and easier to have infections.
When an infection occurs, the body immune system releases special immune-cells to fight against the infection. If necessary, the immune-cells can spread to the heart. But the chemicals produced by these cells might also hurt myocardium, causing inflammation.
Fortunately, myocarditis is not common (rare). It’s also not contagious in most cases. Interestingly, the disease is common in otherwise healthy individuals. About 5-20 percent of young adults with sudden death might be caused by myocarditis.
Myocarditis is not thought of as inherited disease. In fact no specific genes are identified to predispose someone to the disease.
There is no information, including medical interventions or lifestyle measures, to prevent the disease. But some experts believe that treating infections immediately can help a lot, this is especially important if you have an upper respiratory tract infection and weakened body immune system.
Myocarditis might cause serious damage and more difficult to treat. Early diagnosis and treatment is important to avoid the complications.
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Skin bruising is a common skin problem, typically characterized by a discoloration of the skin. It usually occurs when your capillaries (small blood vessels) close to surface of the skin are damaged or broken. The broken capillaries leaks out some blood and this results in a black and blue mark. The good news, it often goes away on its own. Eventually the blood is re-absorbed, and the mark heals. However sometimes the prognosis is dependent on the underlying cause of the problem.
In most cases, skin bruising is caused by the impact of bumping into something. The harder blows you have, the larger bruises appear. But the exact cause can also be unidentified in some cases. For example, some people can get easy bruising even with no apparent reason.
Furthermore, most people are generally easier to get bruising as they age. Naturally, the skin will become thinner over time – so does the tissues that support the capillaries. That’s why bruises frequently occur in elderly people. Certain medicines might also have an effect, especially those that thin the blood. How about myocarditis?
In general, skin bruising is not commonly associated with myocarditis. But if it comes with some myocarditis symptoms, doctor might consider myocarditis as one of possibilities to look for!
You might have no specific symptoms if you have a mild myocarditis. In fact, many patients recover before they know they had it – even some people never even know they had it. We can say that the disease often has no symptoms, especially in the early stages. If early symptoms appear, they are usually mild or vogue.
Sometimes the disease doesn’t relieve without treatment and worsens, causing an array of symptoms (depending on the underlying cause). In serious cases, the following are some common signs and symptoms of myocarditis:
- Chest pain or pressure, which may be followed with breathing difficulties such as rapid breathing or shortness of breath. At first, these symptoms occur during physical activity such as exercise. As the inflammation worsens, they may also occur while lying down at night.
- Arrhythmias (rapid, increased abnormal heart beats). In severe cases, it may cause you to faint.
- Fluid retention. When the heart works harder or doesn’t work normally, this can cause swelling of the feet, ankles, and legs.
- Fatigue, which might be followed with a general feeling of being ill.
- Signs of infection such as headaches, fever, diarrhea, sore throat, muscle /body aches, or joint pain.
- Small, abnormal amounts of urine.
- And sometimes swollen joints.
Bruising that lasts longer than what you expect or becomes chronic should not be ignored. Since it can be attributed by several factors, it’s much better to see your doctor for correct diagnosis.
Though myocarditis is often mild and relieves on its own, sometimes it could be fatal. Some of the following tests might be recommended if your doctor believes that you’re having myocarditis: