Myocarditis, as the name implies, is inflammation of the heart muscle ‘also called myocardium’ from any cause (mostly from viral infection). Though it could cause life-threatening heart failure, it usually will relieve without seriously hurting the heart. A number of treatment options are available to cope with. But will you get it again after treatment?
The inflammation can affect the heart in several ways. It may make the heart weaker, causing heart failure symptoms such as shortness of breath, arrhythmias (abnormal-increased heart rhythms), chest pain, and edema (swelling of legs, ankles, or feet). In severe cases, certain areas of the myocardium may die (permanently damaged).
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Sometimes the disease might cause chronic damage to the heart muscle. In such case, you may need lifelong medications.
The good news, it is often mild (not serious). With prompt treatment, you should be able to recover completely. How long it takes to heal is usually dependent on the following factors:
- What causes the disease? If it’s caused by viral infection, it’s less likely to become serious and will heal more quickly – especially if you don’t have another medical condition that affects your healing process and recovery.
- How severe is it? Advanced myocarditis (when it has caused complications) is more difficult to treat. Even in worse situation, heart transplantation may be required.
- Your general health.
An early, comprehensive treatment plan can help eliminate long-term heart damage. It might also help prevent the recurrence of the disease.
The disease is not related to lifestyle and we don’t know exactly how to prevent it from coming back. Nevertheless, some experts believe that a few steps might help reduce the risk of recurrence.
Having a good stress management, for example, can help improve your immune system. With strong immune system, you can reduce your risk of having infection that causes the disease. And if the disease is a consequence of other medical conditions, you have to control them!
The recurrence and complications are more likely to occur if the inflammation is caused by uncommon causes of myocarditis such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, or another autoimmune disease. Even with treatment, sometimes the heart is left with a degree of damage that may require long-term medication.
For more information about the prognosis after treatment and comprehensive steps to prevent the recurrence, see also this article!
Thinking about the risk of recurrence might make you depressed, especially if you have certain medical condition that can make the recurrence more likely. This could be emotionally challenging, including for your family. But whatever it is, don’t let your stress take control, because uncontrolled stress can worsen the problem.
Work with your doctor for more advice and guidance! If necessary, your doctor may recommend regular follow-up appointments to keep monitoring your overall health, especially your heart function.