Myocarditis and Night Sweats
It’s normal to occasionally have excessive sweating if you’re sleeping during the hot weather or under too many blankets. But if your bedroom is cool and you find your bedclothes drenched, this might be a sign of certain medical condition. Abnormal night sweats can be attributed by many factors, how about myocarditis?
Sweating is natural mechanism of your body’s cooling system. The hypothalamus in the brain is responsible to stimulate millions of sweat glands to help keep the body temperature normal. As the watery-sweats evaporate on your skin, this cools your body temperature down and prevent you from overheating, especially during workouts and hot days.
Night sweats (also known as nocturnal hyperhidrosis) are repeated episodes of hyperhidrosis (extreme perspiration) at night, resulting in soaked sleepwear and sheets. And they have nothing to do with an overheated sleeping environment. They can affect both adults and children.
Excessive sweating at night may be a simple consequence of ‘the change of life’, for example menopause. Though it is usually not dangerous, sometimes it could signal a real threat to our health. In other words, it can be problematic on a number of different levels.
There are many possible causes of the problem. Some of these underlying causes are a simpler fix, and others are serious or even life-threatening. These include:
- Menopause, a normal phase of women life that occurs as they age – it marks the end of women’s menstrual cycle. Menopause-related hot flashes can flare up at night, causing excessive sweating. If you’re a woman around age 50, menopause is likely the main culprit (particularly if you experience irregular /absent menstrual periods).
- Infectious causes, the most common one may be tuberculosis. Other infections – such as HIV/AIDs, bone infection (osteomyelitis), inflammation of the heart valves (endocarditis), and pyogenic abscess – can also cause night sweats.
- Neurologic disorders. In less common cases, excessive sweating may occur in people with stroke, spinal cord injury, autonomic neuropathy, posttraumatic syringomyelia, and autonomic dysreflexia.
- Hormonal disorders such as hyperthyroidism (a disorder of the endocrine system with overactive thyroid) and carcinoid syndrome.
- Low blood sugar level (hypoglycemia). Diabetics (people with diabetes) are at high risk of having hypoglycemia, especially if they take insulin therapy.
- Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), a complicated- debilitating disorder that causes abnormal extreme fatigue without known reason. CFS-related fatigue usually doesn’t improve with rest or other lifestyle measures.
- Fibromyalgia, a frustrating condition that causes widespread pain throughout the body.
- GERD (gastro esophageal reflux disease), a condition in which stomach acid travels up and leaks out the stomach into the esophagus.
- Certain sleep disorders, such as obstructive sleep apnea (a disorder that can cause difficulty breathing during sleep).
- Certain cancers. For example, sometimes night sweets along with other unusual symptoms (such as unexplained weight loss) could be an early sign of lymphoma.
- Lifestyle factors, such as abusing alcohol.
Also, night sweats could be a side effect of certain medications. Some of these medications include hormone therapy for cancer treatment, antidepressants, or other psychiatric medications.
Sometimes the underlying cause of the disease is not identifiable. In such case, idiopathic hyperhidrosis may be to blame. In people with idiopathic hyperhidrosis, the body can chronically make too much sweat (including during sleep at night) with unknown medical cause.
Myocarditis, as the name suggests, is inflammation of the myocardium (heart muscle). It is uncommon and usually mild, though it could also turn into serious or even life-threatening in some cases.
There are several causes of the disease, these include; infections, toxic/ allergic reaction to certain medications, exposure to chemicals /radiation, and chronic inflammatory diseases (for examples lupus and rheumatoid arthritis). Rarely, myocarditis might be caused by certain cancers.
The signs and symptoms of this inflammation are not specific, and many of them mimic those of other diseases. Even sometimes it has no any symptoms (especially if it’s mild or in the early stages). It can be so mild and you may never realize that you had it – it may pass unnoticed.
When the disease has become severe, it may cause some of the following symptoms (depending on the underlying cause and severity of the disease):
- Chest pain or other discomforts in the chest area. The pain may feel like a heart attack or angina.
- Difficulty breathing, shortness of breath. It usually flares up on exertion (during physical activity). Sometimes it may occur even at rest.
- Swelling (fluid retention /edema) in certain parts of the body such as the legs, ankles, or feet.
- Common signs and symptoms of infection such as fever, headache, body aches, or sore throat.
- Fatigue (tiredness).
How about night sweats?
Most of the time night sweats are harmless. But if they keep happening and occur with other unusual symptoms (difficulty breathing, unexplained weight loss, or high fever for examples), have a medical professional evaluate you!
So we understand that myocarditis symptoms can vary – there is no a single recognizable set of symptoms, making the diagnosis of the disease takes some ‘extra’ careful medical sleuthing. Physical examination is usually not enough to pin down the accurate diagnosis. Other additional tests and procedures are required.
Though there is no strong connection between myocarditis and night sweats, your doctor might suspect myocarditis as possible culprit of your night sweats if you are also experiencing out-of-the-blue breathing difficulty (shortness of breath), chest pain, or other heart-related signs and symptoms.
To confirm correct diagnosis, it usually involves some of the following tests: