The human heart calmly snuggles inside the chest protected by a hard rib cage and tender layers of tissues and muscles. From deep within also, the heart is always performing well on its mission of pumping healthy blood to the body so as to keep the body active and alive. Nestled far down the chest our heart casually fends off many infections without us even noticing. But, the army of bacteria and fungi are also not the weak ones, sometimes somehow they manage to get into our bloodstream and cause inflammation inside. Most often inflammations occurring inside the body are benign and short lived. Nonetheless, some micro-organic inflammations sore up to a capability of damaging a complete organ or in worst cases prove lethal as well.
Out of the many heart related problems, coronary artery diseases and heart failures are the ones people are more aware of. Hence, symptoms of heart infections usually go unnoticed until a later stage. And due to this ignorance, often heart infections can turn out as life taking ailments.
The state of human heart when the inner lining of heart chambers and valves get infected by some micro organism such as bacteria or fungi is known as Endocarditis. In short the inflammation of endocardium is called endocarditis or infective endocarditis in medical terms.
How Does Heart Infection Occur?
The people who have a history in heart problems or have less immune body systems are more prone to heart infections. Many bacteria and fungi keep invading our body due to some or the other disease like cough, cold, etc. But not every time these bacterial infections turn into endocarditis. Only in the cases when these bacteria make their way to enter the blood stream and eventually attach themselves to a region on/near the human heart, endocarditis occurs.
Those who have some congenital heart defects present or have undergone implantation of any artificially developed cardiac device, remain vulnerable to endocarditis even after successful treatment of previous ailment. Usually endocarditis is seen in people who are older past 50, yet the risk factor can’t be ignored in younger ones also. Pericarditis and myocarditis are two relative diseases occurring in people who had or are susceptible to endocarditis.
Risk Factor of Heart Infection
Endocarditis is no common heart condition; it is a rare one which is more prevalent in males than females. Infective endocarditis has affected even people with very healthy hearts in the past.
Germs always have a tendency of replicating at a fast pace so as to spread their infection speedily. So, does the micro-organisms causing endocarditis. They stick themselves to malformed and vulnerable areas of heart like endocardium or heart valves or chambers and then start multiplication.
Is Heart Infection Fatal?
How can a heart infection turn fatal? Varying from person to person, endocarditis can cause the body to show immense symptoms (or say outcomes). The sole factor as to why this disease becomes life taking is the diversity in its symptoms. They differ not only according to location and pace of infection in different individuals, but sometimes varied signs of infection are observed in the same person over time.
In the mild cases of infection, a person will only observe fever, chills, tiredness, sore muscles and joints, headaches and night sweats. These are not some disastrous signs anyhow, just indication of any seasonal flu, right? But, if not paid attention then the person’s infection might start to exaggerate itself a bit more. And then starts the series of unending cough leading to heart murmurs and shortness of breath. As infection is growing with each instance, the skin might start reacting accordingly viz. overall paleness and tiny red or purplish bumps on fingers and toes which are painful also. When infection is all over in the blood veins, body parts start to swell and the individual might experience urinary blood as well.
All in all, no cardiac ailment is to be taken with negligence. After all it is the heart that keeps the pump on and let’s us live an active life.