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Endocarditis is the inflammation of the endocardium—the inside lining of the heart chambers and valves. Generally, those individuals who develop endocarditis already have been diagnosed with heart disease.

Endocarditis is generally caused by a bacterial infection. However, viruses, fungi, or other microorganisms can also cause it.

Symptoms typically develop suddenly and may include:

• Fatigue or weakness
• Fever
• Chills
• Night sweats
• Weight loss
• Muscle aches
• Heart Murmur
• Shortness of breath
• Swelling of the feet, legs, or abdomen
• Blood in the urine or abnormal urine color
• Sweating
• Red spots on the palms and soles
• Joint pain
• Red, painful nodes in the pads of the fingers and toes

If endocarditis is suspected, a physician will typically conduct certain tests, such as a blood test, an echocardiogram, a chest x-ray or a CT scan of the chest, in order to receive an accurate diagnosis. Once confirmed, long-term, high-dose treatment with antibiotics is used to treat endocarditis. However, if the heart valves are damaged and/or heart failure develops, surgery may be required to replace the damaged heart valves.

In this case, it’s best to seek the counsel of your physician to receive an accurate diagnosis and a proper treatment plan for this disease.

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