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    Old 03-07-2006, 09:16 PM   #1
    laurierob
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    Chronic Pericarditis

    I have been dealing with chronic pericarditis for the past 4 years. It began with an episode of chest pain for several days then went away. I got it again the following year. Again in 6 months. At this point I had been to emergency rooms - diagnosed with pleurisy initially (due to discovering that I developed a low grade fever with the episode). Later found that it wasn't pleurisy and was diagnosed with Pericarditis. I have since been having episodes every 2 months - then every month. When given Steriod and Colchicine the episodes subsided. Weaned off the drugs and did well for about 6 months. Now I have had 3 episodes since January. The first lasted 30 days - then reprieve for 5 days - only to begin again. Lasted another 10 - 12 days - then another 5 day reprieve and now am in the midst of another one. What is going on. Doctors say they are treating me as they know how. Colchicine is not working any more and I don't want to take the Steroid for various reasons. Is there anyone out there who has found any alternative remedies?

     
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    Old 03-07-2006, 10:48 PM   #2
    enie
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    Re: Chronic Pericarditis

    Laurierob,
    I have had chronic Dresslers Syndrome for probably ten years now and when it flares up the ER people call it Pericarditis, they give me steroids and keep me in the hospital for a couple of days. I have not had an acute attack in almost two years. The acute attacks finally stopped a few months after I stopped having heart attacks and when the invasive heart procedures were over. I suspect that it will probably raise its painfully ugly head again when I start having acute heart problems again. Time, meds (including steroids), leaning a little forward, and avoiding things that might irritate it are the only suggestions I can give you. Have patience, our bodies are always trying to find a way to heal itself. You know the old saying: Faith time and a little TLC are the greatest healers we have been given.
    For my chronic Dresslers I take Celebrex to reduce my inflammation, and I avoid riding in vehicles as much as possible. I found that any jostling, especially the motion of riding in a car causes me pain. They said that probably the constant jarring motion causes the diseased area to be irritated and thus inflammation and pain. It isnít easy for me to stay at home either. My favorite pastime was traveling. I really miss my family in the Midwest and vacationing in the Outer Banks, but itís not worth the pain. But itís better now than it used to be, so some day Iíll hit the road again.
    enie

     
    Old 03-08-2006, 06:27 AM   #3
    laurierob
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    Re: Chronic Pericarditis

    Enie -
    Thanks for your reply. I haven't had any heart problems as you have. The Echo says my heart is functioning fine. As a matter of fact, since the Echo says that and they haven't been able to hear a rub, they are not as motivated to do something for me. Basically it is my problem to adjust to. What did you do about work? I work part-time in an office. Every time I try to push myself to go to work - I seem to get worse. I'm not sure what to do about this. They have been cooperative and understanding and I currently take some work home. But I'm trying to figure out what to plan for the future and its frustrating. When I do feel good - I feel real good. But it seems that as I get going again - I overdo it and then I get the episode back. I can't figure out a pace that works for me and I'm tired of being stationary so much. Any comments?

     
    Old 03-08-2006, 10:22 AM   #4
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    Re: Chronic Pericarditis

    After the first few attacks of Pericarditis, I decided that instead of looking for its origin (which for me was probably either the malaria or the mild heart attack I had while traveling.) I started seeking the telltale signs of what might be causing it and when the trouble might be brewing again. Not as someone paranoid but I tend to be analytical. I was someone that didnít want to be stopped from doing what I loved to do, and this stuff was trying to stop me.
    I first noticed that if I was retaining fluid and I start feeling anything in my chest that, if I did anything that caused a jarring effect, it caused my chest to hurt. For me it was things like; exercises that included running hiking or jumping, lifting, traveling in jeeps or trucks, and of course using our riding lawn mower at home. These activities seem to prompt heart pain and inflammation. Then the inflammation would cause the Pericarditis to start all over again. I know that my fluid retention or activities do not cause pericarditis but once the harm was done to my heart lining from previous attacks of Pericarditis plus the Chronic Dresslers, it sure became an agitate.
    I think everyone has to listen to their own pain and review their own root source to find out what aggravates their problem, but try to do it befor it become acute. It is hard to think clearly when you are in serious pain; and fear only steals and distorts the facts. Do you have any indication as to what triggers the start of your pericarditis, or what activity that might be aggravating your already vulnerable heart lining? Since it is not heart or surgery, is it physical or maybe an infection of some kind?
    We donít have any control over the Pericarditisí origin, but now that harm has been done, why not try to slow it down from it continually trying to encumber your life.

     
    Old 03-08-2006, 11:44 AM   #5
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    Re: Chronic Pericarditis

    Enie -
    I understand what you are saying. My attacks used to be completely debilitating and I would cry in pain desperate for some relief. When asked my pain level in terms of 1-10 it was a 7-8 (only childbirth topping it . Since I have tried to manage it more and recognize the characteristics I can say I am rarely in severe pain, but it is constant, and if I do anything physical - anything - (make dinner, normal daily activities like getting dressed in the morning, driving kids around etc) then it will get progressively worse. So mainly when I feel the symptoms beginning - I have to slow way down - to the point of mostly sitting. My symptoms usually begin with a slight wheezee type feeling at the lower right section of my sternum. This will indicate something is beginning. Progressively over the next days it will progress with the pain moving to the upper region of my chest, then over to the left shoulder, and sometimes encompasses the area under my left rib. This is the time that the pain is the worst. My entire chest is inflamed and movement is difficult. Cold seems to bother it more. Breathing, coughing, hiccups, blowing my nose, and even laughing is painful. This may last for a few days then begins to let up on me - little by little. Unless I worsen it by doing too much. Slowly it retreats until finally one day I am symptom free. Once I am free - I feel good. I don't see any pattern of why it suddenly appears again. It seemed at one time that it sort of coincided with my cycles/ovulation but don't know if that is connected. I do wonder if like you said since the pericardium is already delicate, if stress at work (a lot going on and a lot of dependency on me) and the conditions (located in a lower level that is not really kept very clean) can aggravate the situation. I have taken a lot of time off of work in order to become symptom free. Once I return I usually get it back rather quickly. However, I have been having these episodes even before I began to work there. When I first began to work there - I did not have an episode for about 7 months. So I don't really know if there is a connection or not. I am currenly trying a holistic diet approach (just began 3 1/2 weeks ago) in order to attempt to build up my immune system to fight this better. They say sometimes you get worse (while your body fights the change) before you get better. So I don't know if that is why I am getting worse lately.
    Thank you for your input. Nobody really understands and I have many times thought I was loosing my mind. Sometimes I think its mind over matter and try to keep going and ignore it. It doesn't work though.

     
    Old 11-23-2006, 05:55 PM   #6
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    Re: Chronic Pericarditis

    I just wanted to add that I have recurring pericarditis also. I had trouble getting mine diagnosed at first, my dr. thought it was a pulled muscle. Finally, he figured out it was percarditis and that I had Lupus. When I have a Lupus flare, I get pericarditis and Pluerisy. Have you been tested for Lupus. It blew my away when my dr asked if I had been tested. That never even entered my mind. I was very achy but thought I had arthritis. Anyways, just wanted to through that out there. A 5mg maintenence dose of Prednisone usually keeps me from having the Pericarditis, and it is increased when it does act up. Amy

     
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