What's up family! I hope you are all doing well and staying warm during this cold surge over the country. Be sure to bundle up, get yourself a nice hot cocoa and spend some time with your loved ones whenever you can. It's good for the soul, so it must be good for the heart :)
If you were with us last year, then you would know we reviewed a bit of Aorta anatomy/ zones. Let's bring back some of our weekly quizzes in the new year! Without peaking, comment below - Which zone (1-8) of the aorta contained the renal arteries?
For this week's post, I wanted to talk a little bit about something I do not believe we ever touched on before - a condition called Myocarditis. The following link from Mayo Clinic has a lot of great information: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/myocarditis/symptoms-causes/syc-20352539
Let's review some brief anatomy first to paint a clearer picture!
The heart consists of three major layers:
Pericardium is a fibrous covering over the heart that helps protect the heart
Myocardium is the middle layer which consists of a majority of the heart's dense muscle tissue
Endocardium is the most internal layer of the heart that lines it
Myocarditis refers to an inflammation of the myocardium or middle muscular layer of the heart with symptoms including fever, chest pain, shortness of breath, palpations.
Additionally, because much of the hearts contractile or pumping function depends on the myocardial layer, severe myocarditis can cause heart failure like symptoms, including swelling of the lower extremities and difficulty breathing when you lay flat (due to fluid in the lungs).
There are several potential causes of myocarditis including:
Infections (viral >>> bacterial)
Certain medications that your body is sensitive too such as some antibiotics
Chemicals, such as radiation or carbon dioxide
Inflammatory diseases, such as Lupus, arteritis
While experiencing myocarditis can be an incredibly stressful experience, most cases often resolve on their own without any persisting side effects or cardiac damage. Severe cases may lead to persisting heart failure or permanent damage to the heart and its conduction system.
To help protect yourself against the risk of myocarditis it is good practice to avoid activities that can get you sick such as wearing a mask and avoiding close contact with people who have cold symptoms or other infections. If you are sick, be sure to do the right thing and avoid exposing others too. Wash your hands regularly and avoid risky behaviors that can get you sick such as unprotected sexual activity and the use of nonprescription drugs.
If you or a loved one ever had a severe allergy or reaction to a medication, be sure to let your healthcare provider know if you are being prescribed any medications. Additionally, stay up to date on recommended vaccines including the flu, rubella, and COVID-19 viruses all of which can cause myocarditis.
And that it for this weeks family! Be sure to take care of yourselves and your loved ones. Until next time, let's all remember to Think Aorta!
With the warmest regards,