Over the past few months, there has been a lot of discussion surrounding the heart inflammation myocarditis, in part due to people looking for a recent cause for the disease.
However, particularly among young people, myocarditis can look quite different, with some people not displaying any symptoms at all and other people suffering from sudden death, and people are often left unsure as to which signs to look out for.
The reason for this depends on the nature of the inflammation itself, as some symptoms are caused directly by the myocardium later becoming inflamed, some being caused by the initial cause of the inflammation (such as a viral infection), and others still being caused by the weakening of the heart itself.
As well as this, several symptoms are associated with both myocarditis and the viral infections that can cause it, such as fevers, rashes, fatigue and chest pains.
In other cases, where the heart is weakened, its symptoms can have more in common with heart failure, such as shortness of breath, abnormal heartbeats and suddenly feeling faint.
In other cases such as the rare tropical Chagas Disease, the symptoms can develop at an incredibly slow rate, often only manifesting as heart disease over a decade after the initial infection.
In other cases still, the infection and inflammation are asymptomatic and do not leave any lasting trace.
The best way to determine the cause and potential symptoms is an endomyocardial biopsy, where a small tissue sample from the heart is taken, although blood tests, electrocardiograms and X-rays of the chest can also be used to detect particular symptoms.