Myocarditis has been making headlines recently and we have to thank the professional baseball player who came forward and shared his diagnosis of Myocarditis, which was found after he contracted the COVID-19 virus. We believe that he has saved other athletes lives (professional and non-professional) as well as many others who have been afflicted by it.
The most recent discoveries of it in college football, has NCAA Conferences cancelling their season as athletes are being diagnosed with COVID / Myocarditis.
Sadly, Myocarditis has never made the news, even when it was the cause of athletes and other personalities needing a heart transplant or related to their death. It has always been kept personal and not spoken about.
Now, thanks to this awareness, more may survive and potentially not need a heart transplant due to Myocarditis. The recent awareness of the disease has prompted many to realize how important it is to look for Myocarditis as a potential cause of their symptoms and to give their heart the time it needs to rest and heal itself, if diagnosed.
45 % of Heart Transplants in the U.S. are attributed to Myocarditis, and it is the 3rd leading cause of Sudden Cardiac Death in Children and Young Adults.
The High-Risk Age Group for Contracting Myocarditis is from Puberty through ones early 30s, and it Affects Males Twice as Often as Females.
We need to focus on doing the right thing…we need to take the matter seriously.
While Myocarditis is considered a rare disease, we have always believed that it is not as rare as everyone thought. Often it is misdiagnosed as a “viral syndrome”, such as flu, stomach virus, pneumonia, among others. If the person was able to feel better from it and went back to exercising, sports, etc., they ran the risk of sudden cardiac death from cardiac arrythmias or developing cardiomyopathy and heart failure from a sick heart being overworked before it had healed.
The healing of a heart sickened by a virus is not as easy as healing a broken bone. You can’t place the heart it in a cast and immobilize it for 8 weeks or so, like you can with a broken bone. The only way to help the heart heal is by rest and limiting how hard it needs to pump.
Like a cut on the skin, the heart develops a scar over the area that was affected by the Myocarditis. That area, like the cut, will heal over time. At first the area is red and inflamed like a cut. Over time, the inflammation (swelling) decreases and the area of scar “fades”, but that area of scar tissue will always remain.
While the area is red, inflamed and slowly healing, the person may feel better and think that they can return to exercise. However, what they don’t know, is that the area is still “irritable” and does not work like undamaged, healthy heart muscle. The damaged muscle is prone to lethal (deadly) cardiac arrythmias as well as having the potential to develop an enlarged heart which can’t function well (cardiomyopathy) by its needing to work harder to try and compensate for the needed extra strain on the heart with exercise.
Most can recover and return to their previous normal activities after usually 3-6 months of cardiac rest. A cardiologist needs to conduct tests to ensure that the heart is adequately healed before a return to activity occurs.
Think of the old adage, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Don’t risk today, so you can enjoy tomorrow…please be careful.
“For more information about Myocarditis you can contact us at: www.myocarditisfoundation.org”