Although myocarditis affects thousands of adults and children nationwide each year, it is a relatively rare disease. As such, doctors are not yet aware of medical treatments or lifestyle habits that can prevent the condition. However, there are many actions you can take to stay healthy following a diagnosis. Discover several myocarditis health tips to mitigate further medical problems from Myocarditis Foundation.
Alter Your Routine
While your lifestyle does not impact your chances of getting myocarditis, it will inform your experience with the disease post-diagnosis. The doctor may recommend specific measures based on your situation, but there are general steps you can take to stay healthy, including:
- Decreasing physical activity: Avoid rigorous athletic activities like heavy lifting or competitive sports for some time, often 3-6 months, to allow the heart to heal.
- Adjusting your diet: Eat heart-healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, and salmon. Refrain from consuming foods with high sodium counts, as well as saturated and trans fats. Refrain from caffeinated products and energy drinks which can stimulate your heart rate making it work harder and not allow it to heal as well.
- Reducing your alcohol consumption: Men should confine themselves to two drinks a day, and women should confine themselves to one to maintain their myocarditis health. Your doctor may also ask you to limit your fluid intake altogether.
- Abstaining from smoking: Cigarettes contain chemicals that can damage the heart and potentially cause further complications. As smoking is addictive, ask your doctor for help quitting. Do not start using e-cigarettes or smokeless tobacco without consulting your provider, as these items contain nicotine.
Take Prescribed Medications
Healthcare providers may prescribe individuals with medicine after a diagnosis, dependent on any symptoms that you may have. Patients often take diuretics, ACE inhibitors, and beta-blockers to combat their symptoms. Your doctor may suggest you take pain relievers as well to ease any pain and to possibly prevent blood clots from developing.
Blood thinners also stop blood clots. If you receive a prescription for a blood thinner, ensure you take it exactly as instructed. Additionally, do not start or stop new medications as many can interfere with blood thinners. Be sure to monitor your bleeding or bruising while on the blood thinner, and let your other healthcare providers know about this medication.
If you experience any side effects from your medicines, reach out to your doctor for help. Let them know about other medications or vitamins you take and any allergies you have.
Limit Contact with Germs
Individuals with myocarditis should try to avoid germs as best they can. A simple and effective way to prevent infections is washing your hands regularly. To ensure your hands are clean, use soap and wash them for at least 20 seconds. Using hand sanitizer and staying home when sick will also mitigate your contact with germs.
Getting vaccinated is another step to staying healthy. Medical professionals suggest people get the flu shot every year and the pneumonia vaccine every five years. If you don’t know what vaccines you need, ask your doctor for insight into your vaccine history.
Seek Professional Assistance
There is no need to handle myocarditis on your own. If you experience severe symptoms, call 911 or visit your nearest hospital. Symptoms that require immediate medical attention include:
- Chest pressure, squeezing, or other signs of a heart attack
- Palpitations or rapid heart rate
- Shortness of breath
- Cold sweats or dizziness
- Nausea or vomiting
- Pain in your abdomen, arm, back, neck, or jaw
You can call your healthcare provider if you have milder symptoms, such as a fever or achy muscles. You should also reach out to your doctor to ask questions about maintaining your health with Myocarditis. To learn more about managing your myocarditis health, contact Myocarditis Foundation today.