Can A Virus Attack Your Heart?

Our body may be exposed to various kinds of infections one of which is the viral infection. The virus can attack any body part including the heart. Many of us may wonder that can a virus really attack our heart? The answer to this question is yes; the heart can also get attacked by a virus and this heart condition is known as ‘Myocarditis’. In this condition, the virus mainly attacks the heart muscles causing inflammation in the heart muscles. The virus disrupts the electrical pathways and signals of the heart causing arrhythmias. In many cases, there is a viral attack on the heart but the body recovers and heals automatically, so you may never know that there was a problem.

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Now when we know that even our heart can be attacked by a virus it is important for us to know more about it so that we can be careful in future or we can identify the symptoms if we face any.(2)

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What Causes A Virus Attack On Your Heart?

As it is said that when there is a viral attack in the heart, the condition is known as Myocarditis and there is an inflammation in the muscles of the heart. While many people may undergo self-recovery without even having any problem or symptoms, some people face minor symptoms and some face major symptoms. Sometimes the inflammation of the heart muscles leads to weakening of the heart muscles leading to severe arrhythmias. This can trigger congestive heart failure and ultimately death.

This condition can even arise in people who seem to be in normal health condition. When there is a viral attack in the heart, there could be very common symptoms which may resemble like that of flu and in some patients, the symptoms may be more severe. The more severe symptoms occur when the initial symptoms go unnoticed. The more complicated symptoms include the following:

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If a person feels any of the above symptoms, then blood tests, chest x-rays, ECG or another electrical heart testing, nuclear heart scanning, etc. can show an indication of stress on the heart and the doctor can be consulted for the issue. When a person’s heart is attacked by a virus, the most initial symptoms are similar to the symptoms of flu. There are a number of viruses which affect the heart but only a few of the virus leads to myocarditis and problems related to it. Some of the viruses include: Adenovirus, cytomegalovirus, Human parvovirus B19, Enteric cytopathic human orphan viruses, rubella virus, etc.(1)

Treatment Of Viral Heart Disease (Myocarditis)

As soon there is a diagnosis of any kind of symptoms related to viral heart infection, the treatment for the same should be started. The medications mainly include the following:

  • Antiviral drugs and agents to treat the overall body infection
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce the inflammation of the heart muscles &
  • Diuretics to remove surplus water from body cells and reduce edema(1)

Whenever there is any problem in the heart the most important things recommended by doctors are changes in the lifestyle. Reducing strenuous activities and reducing salt intake is highly recommended. The doctor will prescribe drugs and agents which will heal up the weak heart muscles and arrhythmias of the heart. The overall treatment depends on how severe is the case and how severe are the symptoms.

Conclusion

The heart can also be attacked by viruses and this condition is known as ‘Myocarditis’. In this condition, the virus mainly attacks the heart muscles causing inflammation in the muscles. Some of the common viruses which are responsible for causing myocarditis are Adenovirus, cytomegalovirus, Human parvovirus iB19, Enteric cytopathic human orphan viruses, rubella virus, etc. The treatment of myocarditis includes medications and lifestyle changes depending on the severity of the condition and symptoms.

References:  

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Sheetal DeCaria MD

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

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Last Modified On: July 1, 2019

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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