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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Myocarditis is an inflammation of the muscle of your heart (myocardium). The myocardium pumps blood through the heart and to other parts of the body. With myocarditis, the heart muscle can become damaged. This weakens the heart and makes it work harder. Over time, this may cause your heart to enlarge, lead to heart failure, and become life-threatening.
You may need any of the following:
- Aspirin helps thin the blood to keep clots from forming. If you are told to take aspirin, do not take acetaminophen or ibuprofen instead. This medicine makes it more likely for you to bleed or bruise.
- Blood thinners help prevent blood clots from forming. Clots can cause strokes, heart attacks, and death. Blood thinners make it more likely for you to bleed or bruise. If you are taking a blood thinner:
- Watch for bleeding from your gums or nose. Watch for blood in your urine and bowel movements. Use a soft washcloth and a soft toothbrush. If you shave, use an electric shaver.
- Be aware of what medicines you take. Many medicines cannot be used when taking medicine to thin your blood. Tell your dentist and other healthcare providers that you take blood-thinning medicine. Wear or carry medical alert information that says you are taking this medicine.
- Take this medicine exactly as your healthcare provider tells you. Tell him right away if you forget to take the medicine, or if you take too much. You may need to have regular blood tests while on this medicine. Your healthcare provider uses these tests to decide how much medicine is right for you.
- Talk to your healthcare provider about your diet. This medicine works best when you eat about the same amount of vitamin K every day. Vitamin K is found in green leafy vegetables and other foods, such as cooked peas and kiwifruit.
- Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
Limit physical activity:
Your healthcare provider may suggest that you rest until your symptoms decrease. He may suggest that you avoid heavy lifting or certain physical activities. Ask what activities are safe for you, when to begin exercise, and the best exercise plan for you.
Help protect your heart:
- Eat heart healthy foods. Eat foods that help protect the heart, including plenty of fruits and vegetables, nuts, and sources of fiber. Eat foods that contain healthy fats, such as walnuts, salmon, and canola and soybean oils. You may need to eat foods low in cholesterol or sodium (salt). You also may be told to limit saturated and trans fats.
- Limit alcohol. Women should limit alcohol to 1 drink a day. Men should limit alcohol to 2 drinks a day. A drink of alcohol is 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1½ ounces of liquor.
- Do not smoke. If you smoke, it is never too late to quit. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you need help quitting.
Contact your healthcare provider if:
- You have a fever.
- You have chills, a cough, or feel weak and achy.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Return to the emergency department if:
- You have any of the following signs of a heart attack:
- Squeezing, pressure, or pain in your chest that lasts longer than 5 minutes or returns
- Discomfort or pain in your back, neck, jaw, stomach, or arm
- Trouble breathing
- Nausea or vomiting
- Lightheadedness or a sudden cold sweat, especially with chest pain or trouble breathing
- Your signs and symptoms come back or get worse.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.