How Do You Know If You Have A Heart Infection?

The heart is a vital organ of the body and various symptoms are experienced by the patients suffering from any cardiac disorder. The symptoms are not limited to heart and are rather widespread.

How Do You Know If You Have A Heart Infection?

How Do You Know If You Have A Heart Infection?

The heart is a vital organ or the body and is connected to all the other organs of the body through blood. Any problem in the heart may reduce its capacity to pump the blood leading to an abnormality in other organs. Abnormality in other organs along with the cardiac disorder causes various symptoms. Symptoms of heart infection include:

Shortness Of Breath. Heart infection reduces the capacity of the cardiac muscles to pump blood to other parts of the body. As blood carries the oxygen and other nutrients with it, the patient experiences shortness of breath due to reduced supply of oxygen.

Fatigue. Blood is the main nutrition provider to the body including muscles. As the flow of blood gets reduced in cardiac infection, the nutritional supply gets reduced leading to fatigue and weakness. Further, the patient is not able to perform strenuous work. (1)

Blood In Urine. Carditis is associated with glomerulonephritis. Thus, the heart infection may lead to inflammation of the nephrons leading to blood in the urine. The cells in urine present due to endocarditis are dysmorphic red blood cells and red blood casts.

Swelling Or Edema. Endocarditis may result in the swelling of legal, abdomen and feet. The swelling is due to the reduced flow of blood leading to the accumulation of blood in the peripheral organs.

Chest Pain. Endocarditis results in the shortness of breath. This results in chest pain due to two primary reasons. First, through a feedback mechanism, the cardiac muscles try to work hard to meet the requirement of oxygen to the tissues leading to pain. Further, through another feedback mechanism, the muscles of the respiratory system have to deliver a sufficient quantity of oxygen into the system; both of these process results in chest pain. (3)

Palpitations. Endocarditis also results in palpitations, as the infection in the heart may cause abnormal heart rhythm.

Red Spots On The Oral Mucosa, Skin And In The Eyes. Infective endocarditis may result in the formation of red spots with blood on the skin of the upper trunk. Ruth’s spots i.e. pale and oval spots are also seen on the retina. Some chronic cases of infective endocarditis may progress to cause clubbed fingers. (2)

Fainting And Lightheadedness. Due to the reduced blood supply, low level of oxygen and reduced nutrition, the brain is not able to function properly leading to lightheadedness or fainting of the patient.

Heart infection can occur in several places in the heart. The most common sites of infections include heart lining and the valves. On the basis of the site of infection, the infection is divided into the following types:

Endocarditis. This condition is characterized by the presence of infection in the valves as well as the inner lining of the heart. Endocarditis may cause significant damage to the heart and thus should be treated as early as possible.

Pericarditis. It is the infection on the outer wall of the heart.

Myocarditis. Myocarditis is the infection in the heart muscles.

Heart infection may be caused by bacteria, virus or fungi. The most common causative agent is bacteria. Many bacteria and other pathogens make into the bloodstream and are effectively killed by the immune system however, in favorable conditions, these bacteria managers to invade the tissues and cause infection. Most of the cases of endocarditis are caused by the bacteria that reside in our oral cavity, on the skin, and in the gut. The causes of endocarditis include poor oral health, infections in other organs, dental implants and catheters.

Conclusion

Various symptoms due to heart infection include shortness of breath, chest pain, blood in urine, fainting, fatigue, spots on the skin and swelling.

References:

  1. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/endocarditis/symptoms/
  2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/endocarditis/symptoms-causes/syc-20352576
  3. https://www.pulseheartinstitute.org/how-we-help/conditions-we-treat/heart-infections/

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