The heart circulates oxygen-rich blood to every cell and organ, making it the most vital organ of the human body. It helps ensure their proper function and overall body health. However, sometimes the heart can encounter a malady known as ‘pericarditis’, or an inflammation of the pericardium, the sac surrounding the heart.
Pericarditis can result from various causes, leading to chest pain, fever, and other discomforts, affecting the heart’s ability to function optimally. Seeking timely medical attention and treatment is crucial to safeguard the body’s well-being and ensure prolonged efficient operation of the cardio-vascular system.
Symptoms of Pericarditis
The symptoms are very similar to a heart attack. It is very important to look for medical attention if the person is experiencing chest pain. Doctors usually rule out the less serious conditions and investigate the cause for the sudden pain. Chest pain is thus, a common symptom of pericarditis. Following are the major symptoms of pericarditis:
- Pain in the shoulder and chest
- Mild fever
- Shortness of breath
- Cough and Fatigue
- Causes of Pericarditis
The exact cause of pericarditis is hard to determine. If the pericardium swells and gets infected, the two layers of the pericardial sac come into contact, thereby causing friction. In many cases, the primary cause of pericarditis is not found at all. It is what is known as ‘idiopathic pericarditis’.
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Heart surgery or attack
Heart surgery or attack often triggers delayed pericarditis. It is also referred to as post-cardiotomy pericarditis or post-cardiac injury syndrome, because it typically develops after a number of months or weeks having a heart surgery or attack.
Pericarditis diagnosis and its treatment
Many symptoms of pericarditis are alike to those of lung and heart conditions. Therefore, it is significant to assess and get diagnosed on time, in order to receive timely medical treatment.
Treatment for pericarditis typically involves addressing the underlying cause, managing symptoms, and preventing complications. Doctors often recommend anti-inflammatory medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to alleviate pain and reduce inflammation. In some cases, colchicine may also be prescribed to help prevent recurrences.
Rest and avoiding strenuous activities can aid in recovery. Severe cases might require corticosteroids or other medications, and in rare instances, drainage of excess fluid around the heart may be necessary. Seeking prompt medical care and following the prescribed treatment plan are crucial for effectively managing pericarditis and preventing further complications.