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Hi friends. I think that my very close friend has Endocarditis. She told me that doctors suspect that she is having it, but she needs to have some analysis to be sure. She is very nervous because of it. I understand her. I am not so close to this disease, I don't know almost anything about it but I think that it is dangerous. So, can you tell me what are the risk factors for Endocarditis and how to diagnose it?

What she can expect from this disease? Please, let me know if you had experience with it. Thank you!

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Hi Couch Potato,

If Endocarditis is diagnosed on time, one shouldn't have any trouble with it, but if it isn't, it can cause some life threatening complications.

It's not so hard to diagnose. The doctor will listen to the person's heart using a stethoscope and if he hears a new murmur or a change in the previous murmur, it can mean that this person has endocarditis. Blood tests can also help diagnose endocarditis. The most important one of these is blood culture test, it is used to identify bacteria in the bloodstream. Signs of anemia in the bloodstream can mean that the person has endocarditis.

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Hey guys,

Yes, blood tests can help diagnose someone with endocarditis, but there are other tests as well which can help. For example, transesophageal echocardiogram and electrocardiogram can also help determine if a person has endocarditis. 

There are some people who are at greater risk of having endocarditis. These include people who have artificial heart valves, congenital heart defects, history of endocarditis, damaged heart valves or history of intravenous illegal drug use. 

Like Bee just wrote, this isn't a dangerous condition if you find it out on time. As far as I know, this isn't something that is hard to treat, it should be easily treated with antibiotics. 

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Hello again,

I agree with you Stradivarius, this isn't hard to treat but the thing is, it takes time until you decide to do the tests in order to determine if you have endocarditis or whatever other heart issue it is. By the time that someone decides to get it checked, there might already be complications and that makes the treatment even harder.

Antibiotics are used to treat the infection which caused endocarditis. However, like I said, if things get out of hand, this person might need to undergo surgery. This is only in case the infection damages the heart valves.

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Hi everyone,

Couch Potato, why do you think that she has endocarditis? Do you know what are its symptoms?

In case that you don't know, I'll give you some info regarding this matter.

Fever and chills are the most common symptoms of endocarditis. Usually, someone with endocarditis gets tired of these fevers and he decides to go to the doctor, that's how someone usually finds out he has endocarditis. Fatigue, aching joints and muscles, night sweats, shortness of breath, paleness, persistent cough, swelling in your feet, legs or abdomen, unexplained weight loss, blood in your urine, these are all symptoms of endocarditis. 

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Hello there. 

Thank you so much for sharing those information with me. I will read all your comments to her and I am sure that she will be calm. But there is one problem, she told me that she believe that this is not discovered on the time and that is why she is scared that she is going to have a lot of issues and problems about it. Now, when they don't discover that someone has this disease on time, what to do about this? Is the treatment different or not? I am asking this because I really want to know more about it...

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Good day there.

It can be a big problem. I was reading about those risk factors before. Here are some of them, for example:

  • Injecting illicit drugs with a needle contaminated with bacteria or fungi can cause this disease. This bacteria very easily can go into your bloodstream and it can cause the damage,
  • also, scarring caused by heart valve damage is a perfect place for bacteria to grow. Or something else, not just bacteria.
  • There is a possibility to get endocarditis back if you already had it.
  • If you have any heart defects, it can also cause it

 

Good luck. 

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Hi. This is a heart defect and there are a few group of the people who are at the biggest risk to have this disease. Those who have risk of this disease are those people who have artificial heart valves and some other congenital heart defects.  That means that if you were born with certain types of heart defects, your heart may be more susceptible to infection. Also, if you had this before you can have high risk of damages of the heart tissue and valves. You need to know that you also can have big risk to develop endocarditis if you were using drugs somehow.

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Hey there. I hope that everything will be ok. Look, this bacteria can be found in your mouth, on your skin, sometimes in your respiratory system, and in the urinary tract. I know that those bacteria may be able to get into your bloodstream very easily, and that can happen when you are eating, when you are brushing your teeth and even when passing stools. Those all are potential causes. Normal heart valves are very resistant to infection, but diseased valves have defects on the surface where bacteria may attach. This bacteria can grow rapidly so you really should seek for the treatment.

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