Pericarditis: Symptoms, Prevention and Treatment
Pericarditis is an inflammation of the pericardium – The tough, fibrous bag which surrounds the heart and protects it from injury. Pericarditis may sometimes follow a severe throat infection or an attack of rheumatic fever. It is frequently seen in advanced tuberculosis. If there is bleeding or hemorrhage in to the pericardial sac, this may interfere with the normal motion of the heart. Chronic constrictive Pericarditis means that the pericardium has become attached to the surface of the heart itself. This may result in congestive failure.
Pericarditis is often associated with coronary thrombosis, when the injury to the heart muscle has extended to the surface of the heart. In such cases, anticoagulant drugs or blood-thinning medicines must not be used, otherwise there may be severe hemorrhage into the pericardium.
In certain chronic conditions, such as advanced tuberculosis, the pericardial sac may become distended with fluid. This is known as pericardial effusion and usually follows some serious infection. It may also occur in myxedema or low thyroid activity.
There is no way to prevent Pericarditis, but a healthy lifestyle with proper nutrition and exercise will help keep the body’s immune system strong and more likely to fight off invading microorganisms.
In most cases swelling or effusion in the pericardium will more or less disappear as the underlying disease comes under control. In not, it may be necessary to pass a long needle into the pericardial sac and withdraw the fluid. Surgery may be needed to relieve a case of constrictive Pericarditis.
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