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    Overview of Endocarditis
    You are here: Home > Pharmacy News | Health Articles/Tips > Endocarditis

      Introduction

      Endocarditis is the infection of the inner lining of the heart (endocardium) or heart valves. Endocardium is a thin membrane that lines the four chamber and four valves of your heart. Endocarditis is life-threatening. It can damage or destroy your heart valves.

      What Causes Endocarditis?

      Endocarditis is uncommon in people with healthy hearts. People at greatest risk of endocarditis have a damaged heart valve, an artificial heart valve or other heart defects. Bacterial infection plays a major role in developing endocarditis. Bacterial infection is the major cause of endocarditis. Usually, bacteria travels from another part of your body like mouth, upper respiratory system, the intestinal and urinary track and the skin spread through the bloodstream and attach to damaged areas in the heart causing endocarditis. Bacteria in the bloodstream are called bacteraemia. Although bactaeremia is common only certain bacteria like Streptococci, Staphylococcus, Pneumococcus or Enterococci commonly cause endocarditis. Risk factors for developing endocarditis include injection drug use, permanent central venous access lines, prior valve surgery, recent dental surgery and weakened valves in the heart.

      What Are the Types of Endocarditis?


      Acute bacterial endocarditis: An aggressive strain of bacteria enters the bloodstream and progresses rapidly to develop acute bacterial endocarditis. Normal heart valves are attacked and the infection spreads through the bloodstream to other organs like the lungs, kidneys and brain. Left untreated, acute bacterial endocarditis can be fatal within six weeks.

      Sub-acute bacterial endocarditis: This entails a more gradual onset of symptoms that could take several months to a year to develop. During that time, it can cause serious damage to heart valves. Sub-acute bacterial endocariditis is typically not accompanied by the dramatic symptoms seen in the acute form of the disease.

      Fungal endocarditis: This occurs in people with the history of damaged heart tissue and in people who have a very low resistance to infections. People who have just received an artificial transplant, pacemaker or implantable cardioverter defibrillator are more prone to fungal endocarditis, since they take drugs that suppress immune system. Both fungal and bacterial endocarditis is commonly seen in people with a history of illegal intravenous (I.V.) drug use, because non-sterile needles can introduce a host of microorganisms directly into the bloodstream.

      Non-bacterial endocarditis: This is rarely caused by some cancer and some autoimmune disorders such as systemic lupus erythematosus.

      What Are the Symptoms of Endocarditis?

      Endocarditis may develop slowly or suddenly — depending on what's causing the infection and whether you have any underlying heart abnormalities. Certain symptoms include fevers, chills, excessive sweating, joint pain, breathlessness, irregular heart beat, abnormal urine color, blood in the urine, fatigue, heart murmur, muscle aches and pains, nail abnormalities, swelling of feet, legs, abdomen, weakness and weight loss.

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      What Are the Diagnosis & Tests for Endocarditis?

      A combination of tests is done to diagnose endocarditis.

      Physical Examination: Your doctor may physically examine nails for splinter hemorrhages, detect whether you have a new heart murmur and examine your eyes for retinal hemorrhages. Doctors also question you on the history of congenital heart disease, intravenous drug use, recent dental work and rheumatic fever.

      Blood Test: Based on your physical examination and response, doctor might prescribe you for a repeated blood culture test and CBC anemia. Blood culture helps the doctor to identify bacteria in bloodstream. CBC anemia enables doctor to identify certain conditions like anemia – shortage of healthy red blood cells that can be a sign of endocarditis.

      Transesophageal echocardiogram: This helps doctor to get a closer look at your valves. An echo diagram uses sound waves to produce images of your heart at work. Echo diagram is often used to check for vegetations or infected tissues. During this test, an ultrasound device is passed through your mouth and into your esophagus – the tube that connects your mouth and stomach.

      Your doctor may suggest some other tests like Chest x-ray, ECG, Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), and serology.

      What Are the Treatments Available for Endocarditis?

      Most treatment for endocariditis includes antibiotics that are injected intravenously. This requires you to be hospitalized for 4 – 6 weeks. Once the signs and symptoms are reduced, you will be discharged and given long-term antibiotic therapy. This helps to get the bacteria out of your heart chambers and valves. Antibiotics vary from person to person depending on the organism causing the condition. Surgical replacement of the valve may be necessary in some cases where the valve has been severely damaged by infection, resulting in valve dysfunction.

      How Do You Cope Up with Endocarditis?

      You are not alone. Endocarditis is an uncommon but not rare disease. It affects about 10,000 - 20,000 persons in the United States each year. Following are certain tips that would help your kid cope up with endocarditis.
      • If you find the symptoms, seek immediate medical attention as endocarditis may result in serious complications such as stroke, need for open heart surgery or even death.
      • Request for an endocarditis wallet from the American Heart Association.

      What Are the Ways to Prevent Endocarditis?

      People with heart conditions like artificial (prosthetic) heart valve, history of endocarditis infection, certain types of congenital heart defects and heart transplants complicated by heart valve operations are at risk of developing endocarditis: Following are certain tips that might help you prevent endocarditis.
      • If you have any of the above said problems, discuss with your doctor.
      • Take preventive antibiotics with the help of your doctor before certain medical or dental procedures or surgeries involving the respiratory, urinary or intestinal tract.
      • Take good care of yourself
      • Pay attention to your dental health. Brush and floss your teeth and gums often.
      • Avoid procedures that may lead to skin infections, such as body piercing or tattoos.
      • Seek prompt medical attention if you develop any type of skin infection or open cuts or sores that do not heal properly.

      Medications for Endocarditis Available at InternationalDrugMart.com

      We, at www.internationaldrugmart.com, supply a wide range of medicines to treat Endocarditis, which you can buy online and make incredible savings!
      Prescription Medications for Endocarditis at InternationalDrugMart.com
      Flagyl (Metronidazole),
      Penicillin V
      View All Other Medications >>

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      Self Care – The Bottom Line to Lower Your Endocarditis

      Here are few simple, effective endocarditis self-care tips that can reduce endocarditis breakouts and control future breakouts.
      • Go for regular dental checkups
      • Take good care of your skin
      • If you have cut or bruise in the skin, seek immediate medication to cure the same.

       

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