Pericarditis

Understanding your health condition is key to feeling your best.

Martha Gulati, MD, FACC, CardioSmart Editor-in-Chief
Learn about Pericarditis

Your heart beats in a fluid-filled sac called the pericardium that keeps it protected while it pumps blood to your body. Inflammation, irritation or swelling of this sac is called pericarditis. It is often caused by a viral infection, but can also be caused due to other things such as a heart attack, chest injury or certain diseases. Although anyone can have this condition, it is most common in men between 20 and 50 years old.

If you have pericarditis, it’s fairly common to develop symptoms suddenly. The main symptom is pain in the center or left side of your chest. The discomfort is from your heart rubbing against the pericardium. You may feel this pain spread to your back, neck or shoulder. You may also find that it’s hard to breathe when you lie down or notice other symptoms like a dry cough or generally feeling weak and tired. Seeking medical care right away is very important if you begin having chest pain.

If you are diagnosed with pericarditis, you will likely be treated with medications for pain and inflammation. Use this condition center to learn more about pericarditis. You can keep up with the latest research, find questions to ask your doctor, and get tips to help you feel your best.

Pericarditis News & Events

Top CardioSmart News Articles of 2018

Dec 13, 2018

This year's most read patient summaries worth a second look.

Children Should Avoid Diet Drinks, Advise Experts

Aug 15, 2018

Experts can’t say with certainty that artificially sweetened drinks are safe, based on a recent advisory from the American Heart Association.

Health Literacy is Critical to Heart Disease Prevention

Jun 29, 2018
An American Heart Association statement addresses health literacy as a barrier to heart health. 

Loneliness is Bad for the Heart

Jun 29, 2018
A lack of social support is linked to poorer health outcomes in heart patients.

Moderate Exercise Reduces Risk of Death in Women

Dec 14, 2017
A study of more than 17,000 women links physical activity to a longer, healthier life.

Medication Adherence Remains Challenging for Heart Patients

Dec 12, 2017
Taking medication as directed is critical to improving outcomes.
I am CardioSmart

Enter the "I am CardioSmart" Contest

Oct 31, 2017

Tell us how you are living well with heart disease for a chance to win a $100 gift card!

A Heart-Healthy Lifestyle Helps Keep the Mind Intact

Oct 16, 2017
Experts provide simple yet effective strategies for protecting cognitive health as we age.

New Guidelines Fine-Tune Heart Screenings in Young Athletes

Aug 17, 2017
Refined testing would save health care costs while still detecting serious heart conditions.

Too Much Salt Puts Added Stress on Heart

Aug 17, 2017
A recent study confirms that consuming more than 3,700 mg of sodium daily taxes the heart.

Enter the "I am CardioSmart" Contest

Oct 17, 2016

Tell us how you are living well with heart disease for a chance to win a trip for two to Washington, D.C., in March 2017!

ACC Partners with Google to Share Reliable Heart Health Information

Sep 20, 2016
“Ask a Doctor” feature promotes patient-provider engagement.

The Importance of Promoting Heart Health in Children

Sep 17, 2016
Experts highlight early education about heart health for prevention later in life.
CardioSmart News

Virtual Health Programs Could Improve Global Health

May 22, 2016
An online challenge promotes physical activity and weight loss in over 60 countries.

Heart Disease Burden Has Shifted to Southern U.S. States

May 04, 2016

The highest death rates from heart disease have shifted to the South since the 1970s.

Decline in Dementia Rates Over Past Three Decades

Mar 08, 2016

Study analyzed data on trends in older adults in the Framingham Heart Study.

Texting Programs Improve Medication Adherence in Patients with Chronic Disease

Feb 26, 2016
A recent study suggests that text messaging programs double the odds of medication adherence in adults with chronic disease.

Too Little Exercise Remains a Prime Concern for Americans

Jan 18, 2016
Experts reaffirm that health benefits from exercise far outweigh risks.

Cardiac Rehab is Lifesaving for Heart Patients

Jan 10, 2016

Exercise-based rehab programs reduce risk for heart-related death by 26%.

Heart Disease Remains Top Killer in the United States

Jan 10, 2016

Heart disease accounts for 1 in 3 deaths, highlighting an urgent need for prevention and treatment.

Declines in U.S. Death Rates Have Slowed

Nov 19, 2015
Researchers measure progress on heart disease and other leading causes of death, and identify areas for improvement.

Low-Fat Diets Not the Best Weight Loss Solution

Nov 19, 2015

A review of more than 50 clinical trials comparing low- versus higher-fat diets shows no significant difference in weight loss results.

African-American Veterans Healthier Than White Counterparts

Oct 22, 2015

Analysis of VA data stands in contrast to health disparities in the general U.S. population.

Music Boosts Heart Health

Oct 13, 2015
Music’s effect on heart activity, blood pressure and breathing bodes well for health.

A Healthy Lifestyle in Midlife Makes for Healthier Golden Years

Oct 13, 2015

The benefits of healthy choices carry long into older adulthood.