Monitoring your blood pressure when you have Pericarditis is very important. But before we discuss monitoring your blood pressure, we’ll chat briefly about what is pericarditis and its associated symptoms. Pericarditis is inflammation of the pericardium, or tissue sac that surrounds the heart. In addition to keeping the heart in place, the pericardium helps the heart pump properly. The pericardium is made of two layers of tissue separated by fluid that prevents them from rubbing together.
What Are The Most Common Causes Of Pericarditis?
Viral, bacterial, fungal and other kinds of infections are among the most common causes of pericarditis, although a heart attack, heart surgery, physical injury and some medications may also be responsible for this condition.
Symptoms of Pericarditis
People experiencing pericarditis often have chest pain due to the inflammation of the pericardium itself and, possibly, the feeling of the pericardium rubbing against the heart. The pain most often occurs in the middle or left side of the chest, although some individuals relate feeling pain in either one or both of their shoulders.
As far as the quality of the pain is concerned, most people usually describe pericarditis pain as sharp, stabbing and sudden. Others report a dull ache or feeling of pressure in the chest. The pain often feels worse when breathing deeply or lying down and individuals with pericarditis can sometimes feel some relief from sitting up or leaning forward.
This Can Be A Medical Emergency
This can be more than just a frightening experience, it can be a medical emergency, such as a heart attack. If you ever have chest pain, you should always call 911 immediately. According to the American Heart Association, when it comes to heart attacks, “Time is muscle.” The longer you postpone treating your chest pain, the more damaged your heart may become. Therefore, it is critical to seek medical attention at the first sign of chest pain.
The Second Most Common Symptom
The second most common symptom of pericarditis is fever. Besides chest pain and fever, some frequently reported symptoms include difficulty breathing, coughing, weakness and feeling like the heart is racing. When pericarditis persists and becomes a chronic condition, individuals may feel tired, be short of breath and tend to cough. Some individuals also experience stomach and leg swelling, as well as low blood pressure.
Risks of Pericarditis
In addition to possibly provoking a heart attack, pericarditis needs to be promptly treated and taken seriously. A heart with compromised function is a major problem, no matter what has caused it and pericarditis is no exception.
Two extremely serious complications of pericarditis are;
- chronic constrictive pericarditis
- cardiac tamponade
Chronic Constrictive Pericarditis
Chronic constrictive pericarditis occurs when scar tissue forms around the pericardium, possibly as a result of frequent bouts with pericarditis. Since it takes quite some time for this scar tissue to form, it is a relatively rare condition.
As scar tissue builds up on the pericardium, it becomes stiff and makes it difficult for the heart to pump. Another serious complication of pericarditis, cardiac tamponade, occurs when excess fluid accumulates inside the pericardium, placing excessive pressure on the heart.
This condition makes it difficult for the heart to fill with enough blood. Since less blood is pumped out of the heart, blood pressure dramatically falls. If cardiac tamponade is not immediately treated, it can be fatal. This is why frequent check-ups and monitoring blood pressure is so critical to your health.
Monitoring Your Blood Pressure
Blood pressure monitoring is especially important. As is the case with cardiac tamponade, close monitoring of blood pressure can be life-saving. In many other cases, closely watching blood pressure can help detect chronic conditions in the early stage when serious complications can possibly be reduced or avoided. Heart attack, stroke and peripheral arterial disease are some of these conditions which can be monitored by using a blood pressure monitor. A wide range of blood pressure monitors are available in stores and through online retailers.
Choose A Blood Pressure Monitor You Can Use Easily
Whether you choose a cuff, wrist monitor or another type of blood pressure monitoring machine, the most critical factor in selecting a device is choosing one which you are easily able to learn. If you feel comfortable using a particular blood pressure monitor, you will be much more likely to use it every day.
Consistency Is Critical
With home monitoring, the most critical factor is consistency. Consistently monitor your blood pressure at the same time of day and in the same location.
Write Down Your Results
Write down your results and compare the numbers from day to day. If you notice a sudden change in your blood pressure, seek immediate medical attention, as such blood pressure changes can indicate a new or worsening health condition.
Consult A Professional Before Monitoring Your Blood pressure At Home With Pericarditis
Before beginning a blood pressure monitoring program at home, it is always a good idea to speak to your healthcare provider. She or he will be happy to make sure your using the device correctly and answer any questions you may have about blood pressure monitoring or pericarditis.