Endocarditis pertains to an inflammation that occurs in the heart’s inner layer also known as endocardium. Endocarditis can either be infective or not depending on the source that causes the condition.
There are two types of Endocarditis, Bacterial Endocarditis and Marantic Endocarditis. The former occurs more frequently than the latter. In fact, Marantic Endocarditis or the type that is non-infective barely occurs.
Bacterial Endocarditis is caused by bacteria that pass through the mouth, penetrates the bloodstream, and enter the heart valve. If it is left untreated, Bacterial Endocarditis can cause serious damage to the heart valve, which can be fatal. However, a healthy heart poses a strong armor against the infection. Severe heart damage is less likely to occur in hearts that are free of defects. Abnormal heart valves and certain heart disorders, meanwhile, pose as a great risk factor for the adverse effects of the disease.
Bacterial Endocarditis must be treated immediately to put out the possibility of complications. Germ infection in the endocardium is mostly manifested by unexplainable fever, shortness of breath, fluid build up in the arms and legs, weight loss, and Janeway lesions. Janeway lesions pertain to skin ulcers that occur on the palms and soles of the hands and feet.
This disease is mostly caused by infective micro-organisms that can be isolated by blood culture. Streptococci are the bacteria responsible for Endocarditis that stems from the mouth. This can penetrate the body system by handling dental procedures. Contamination through the skin, meanwhile, is mostly caused by Staphylococcus aureus. Enterococci are the bacteria that enter the bloodstream directly and which can be acquired in hospital facilities. Identification of the micro-organisms isolated by blood cultures is often enough to trace the cause of infection.
Endocarditis can be caused by every day activities such as eating and brushing teeth. Unhealthy gums can easily allow bacteria to the bloodstream. Endocarditis can also be brought about by other medical conditions. A skin sore, gum disease, STD, and an intestinal disorder are mostly characterized by germs that can transfer to your bloodstream. Chronic IV and catheter users also carry a huge amount of risk factors for Endocarditis. Contaminated tools should always be of utmost concern.
Typically, the bacteria that invade your body meet their death through the immune system. Some germs also reach the heart without causing harm. Then again, the percentage of the occurrence of adverse effects remains, albeit being small. A damaged heart valve is the perfect thriving place for any kind of micro-organism. If your heart valve lining is damaged, it can easily make up a nice place for the bacteria to live, multiply, and cause further damage.
Bacterial Endocarditis is accurately detected through a series of physical and clinical tests. The most accurate and easiest of which is through blood examination. Blood culture easily isolates the actual germs that infected the heart valve lining. Thus, detection and diagnosis become possible.
Physical examination may also establish a doctor’s diagnosis of Endocarditis. With the use of stethoscope, the doctor may seek for different heart murmurs that could be signs of the disease.
Echocardiogram is another diagnostic practice used for prospective Endocarditis patients. The sound waves produced by the apparatus will provide imaging of your heart at work. The results of this imaging will give the doctor a better look at the heart valves, which will then help him determine if abnormalities are indeed present or not. Echocardiogram is handled by putting an ultrasound tool in your mouth through your esophagus.
Marantic Endocarditis, on the other hand, is caused by different conditions such as the antiphospholipid syndrome and the lupus erythematosus. This kind of non-infective Endocarditis is also often associated with Cancer, especially mucinous adenocarcinoma.
Treatment for Endocarditis usually involves a high dosage of antibiotics. The key to optimal recovery is following the dosage instructions of a qualified health professional. Antibiotics work only if consistent levels are maintained in the body system for a specific period of time. If the prescription is not followed strictly, the patient under treatment will have very small chances of recovering within the given period.
Early detection and proper treatment are aimed at controlling the symptoms of Endocarditis and preventing any more complications to occur. This would not be possible if the patient is not mindful of his medicine intake. Repeatedly missing a dose is not good. Aside from increasing your risks for side effects, missing a dose will also prolong your suffering. Although Endocarditis is such a simple condition that can be cured, leaving it untreated or improperly treated could make for life-threatening outcomes.
The preventive measures for Endocarditis usually involve proper personal hygiene. Patients with high risk factors of contracting the disease are often given high dosages of antibiotics before every dental or surgical procedure. A recent medical update, however, minimized the use of preventive antibiotics for Endocarditis under the conditions that include only dental procedures that involve the gum tissue and surgical procedures that involve the respiratory tract,
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