A harmless infection can have dire consequences if not properly cured. There is a risk of heart muscle inflammation, which even increases the risk of cardiac death.
Hardly anyone stays in bed with a supposedly harmless cold, and even after a gastrointestinal infection you certainly don’t think about taking it easy for a long time. You should also be careful with minor illnesses. Because many viruses and bacteria can affect the heart. This includes:
The risk that the pathogens attack the heart muscle is particularly high if you don’t allow your body enough rest. Stress or exercise are dangerous in such situations.
Well curable, difficult to identify
If heart muscle inflammation is detected in time, it can be treated very well with antibiotics and plenty of rest. And in around every third case, myocarditis, as the heart muscle inflammation is called in technical jargon, even runs without symptoms and heals on its own without long-term effects. However, the remaining two thirds have scarring on the heart, which can develop into cardiac insufficiency. This can lead to a heart attack or even sudden cardiac death much later. Experts suspect that myocarditis is also a cause of the comparatively frequent sudden cardiac death in young athletes who tend not to take it easy long enough after an illness.
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Coughs, runny nose and fever often come overnight and then we feel really bad. But is that a reason to stay home or can we continue to work?
You can tell if you have heart muscle inflammation by these symptoms
The problem is that the signs of myocarditis are rather unspecific and are therefore often not properly perceived. The main symptom is severe exhaustion, which those affected suffer from in the first eight weeks after an infection. It is normal to be weak during an illness, but if you feel tired for weeks after the infection, this is a warning sign. Other symptoms of heart muscle inflammation include:
If you notice such symptoms after an infection, you should see a doctor immediately. He can use an EKG, an ultrasound scan, and a blood test to identify possible impairment of heart function and symptoms of myocarditis. He will presumably prescribe antibiotics and plenty of rest to treat heart muscle inflammation.
But it is even better not to let it get that far in the first place. Allow yourself enough time to heal even after a supposedly harmless infection. Even if that means that you should refrain from exercising for two weeks and avoid stress.