Myocarditis - What Is It And Why Are Teens Getting It?
Recently, there's been a surge in the cases of myocarditis, especially in young adults and teenagers. Doctors have been baffled, absolutely shocked at the rising cases, unsure where to attribute the cause.
If you've been wondering about this, and if your family members could be at risk, continue reading.
What Is Myocarditis?
Myocarditis is an inflammation of the heart muscle. It's usually a very rare condition, only happening in a small handful of people, generally, 1 and 100,000 people. It can attack all age groups, but generally, people who get this are a bit older. That's because our natural defenses greatly protect the tissues around the heart.
Myocarditis is very closely related to pericarditis. Pericarditis is an inflammation of the protective layer around the heart.
Most of the time, these happen because of an infection in the tissues or response to an overactive immune system. Many people who have an infection causing myocarditis or pericarditis end up with a persistent viral infection of the myocardium tissue, and many different viruses could cause this.
People feel like their chest is too tight and it can often feel like a heart attack. Most of the care given to a person is supportive – anti-inflammatories and steroids to help calm the inflammation. Antivirals may get used if the cause is a virus.
Fortunately, it's rarely debilitating in the long term, and with treatment, very rarely fatal. But, it is frightening.
Why Are Teenagers Suddenly Developing This Heart Problem?
Right after the COVID vaccines started being administered to teenagers, the number of cases of teenagers with myocarditis and pericarditis skyrocketed.
Currently, the CDC denies a link between the COVID vaccine and the incidences of pericarditis and myocarditis – they still recommend getting the vaccine. However, they have started an investigation.
Most of the cases reported are in male adolescence and young adults over the age of 16. Most of the reports come within days of receiving the second dose of the vaccine.
Surprisingly, most of the reported cases are after receiving the second dose of the mRNA vaccine.
Doctors attribute inflammation to an autoimmune response. The vaccine triggered the immune system to ramp up its actions, and it mistook the heart muscle or lining for the virus.
Generally, people who have myocarditis or pericarditis, vaccine related or not, walk out of the hospital and can continue with their normal lives within a couple of weeks. About half of the people take short-term heart medication to reduce inflammation.
The numbers have not been released at the time of publication for how many people have experienced pericarditis and myocarditis after receiving the vaccine.
What Can You Do To Prevent It and Help Prevent A Flare Up
Unfortunately, there's not a lot you can do to prevent myocarditis or pericarditis specifically. But, there is a lot you can do to prevent viral infections and generalized inflammation. There is a lot you can do to help your immune system remain active without being overstimulated.
In a world where viruses abound, keeping your immune system and body strong is critical.
Here are five steps to keep your body healthy to avoid some of the co-morbidities that make myocarditis and pericarditis dangerous:
- Drink plenty of water – avoid alcohol
- Eat lots of fruits and vegetables to get the antioxidants
- Supplement with herbs that help keep you strong (read more here)
- Get plenty of exercise
- Wash your hands often - what's the best way to keep from spreading infections
One of the things you don't want to do is overstimulate your immune system. Keeping it running on high all the time can cause it to break down, especially when you get most. Avoid taking herbs regularly such as echinacea. Other herbs such astragalus can help modulate your immune system to avoid overreactions.
If you do start to feel sick, that is the perfect time to use echinacea. Certain studies show that it can help boost your immune system to overcome viral infections when taken as soon as symptoms begin.
If you can get rid of the viral infection, you can reduce the chances of the pericarditis in myocarditis setting in.
But, if you start to feel chest pain, compression, or shortness of breath, these are serious warning signs. You should contact your doctor immediately when you start feeling this, and if the symptoms increase or become painful, emergency treatment may be necessary.
If you do experience that pericarditis or know someone who has, paying attention to Future signs and keeping your body healthy is the best way to avoid a flare-up. Nearly half of all people who experience this once never experience it again. And you can help put yourself into that category by keeping your body healthy.