A virus is a harmful pathogen which can cause a number of infections and diseases once it enters the body. After entering the body, the virus may multiply at a rapid pace thus increasing the severity of the infection it is causing. An infection in one part of the body can often spread to other parts by the means of blood circulation. Viral infections can also cause heart disease, thereby weakening the heart and hampering the function. It can lead to a number of issues related to the heart and cardiovascular system. Viral cardiomyopathy is one such disease that affects the myocardium and the cardiac muscles.
One of the main causes of this cardiomyopathy type is the presence of a virus which is called cox-sackie virus B in the walls of the heart. This virus causes an infection in the myocardial sac and the cardiac muscles, which leads to the inflammation of the muscles, hence affecting the organ. The heart may also become weak as a result of overstressed heart muscles pumping blood throughout the body.
Viral cardiomyopathy can sometimes lead to dilated cardiomyopathy, where the atria and ventricles of the heart become enlarged due to infection. This van hamper the pumping of the heart Ischemic cardiomyopathy, which is another type of this cardiac disorder, may also cause heart failure. Another life-threatening disorder related to the heart is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, where the muscles of the heart become abnormally thick, causing a hindrance to the pumping of the heart. In the absence of proper treatment, a substantial damage can be caused to the heart, which can prove to be fatal.
Signs and Symptoms
Unfortunately the first attack of the virus on the myocardium of the heart is asymptomatic i.e. it does not produce any signs. Even if symptoms are exhibited, they are too subtle to be noticed. The symptoms surface only after the condition has increased in intensity. Given below are some of the signs of this cardiac muscle disorder that can be observed when the condition becomes worse.
- One of the primary symptoms is chest pain, which may radiate to the shoulder and arms.
- Abnormal rhythm of the heart or palpitations can be felt in the chest, as seen in ischemic cardiomyopathy similar to experiencing a heart attack.
- The heart may also become enlarged due to the presence of excess fluid. The lower extremities may also swell due to accumulation of fluid.
- Shortness of breath, making the individual feel incapable of doing minor tasks.
- Fatigue or feeling excessively tired, even after a mild exercise regimen.
- Experiencing bouts of dizziness or feeling lightheaded is also observed as one of the indications.
- Other symptoms may include the formation of blood clots, which may obstruct free flow of blood, heart murmur, fainting spells, and unexplained weight gain.
Viral Cardiomyopathy Treatment
Initial stage treatment can curtail the viral infection from spreading and affecting other vital organs in the body. After the diagnostic tests like an electrocardiogram (ECG), MRI or CT scan of the heart are conducted, the doctor may proceed to administering treatment. Strong antibiotics may be prescribed to destroy the viral infections.
Drugs like anticoagulants and blood thinners may help dissolve the blood clots. Medications to control the abnormal heart rate, In rare cases, the individual may have to undergo heart surgery to correct this condition and remove the diseased parts of the heart. A heart transplant surgery may also be a necessity in some cases, when the heart is beyond repair.
This cardiac disorder can be a life-threatening condition and the necessary precautions must be taken to prevent it from turning fatal. Any kind of viral infection must be reported to a health care provider so that treated in the initial stages to avoid the infection from becoming intense and leading to other complications. To maintain a proper heart health, you must avoid alcohol and smoking, follow a complete balanced diet and practice a proper exercise regimen. Wish you good health and take care!