Pericarditis

Understanding your health condition is key to feeling your best.

JoAnne M. Foody, 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

Less Educated Smokers Have Greatest Stroke Risk

Sep 05, 2014
Traditional risk factors for stroke are especially dangerous in poorly educated adults, finds study.

Enter the "I am CardioSmart" Patient Contest

Sep 02, 2014

Tell us how you are living well with heart disease for a chance to win a trip to San Diego, CA.

Coca-Cola Family Track Walk in Richmond, VA

Aug 29, 2014
A fellow of the American College of Cardiology will be at Richmond International Raceway on Sept. 6 to share tips on heart health and the benefits of an active lifestyle.

Heart Group Says E-Cigarettes Require Strict Regulation

Aug 28, 2014
Electronic cigarettes should be included in smoke-free air laws, according to the American Heart Association.

Folic Acid Deficiency Rare in U.S.

Aug 19, 2014
Study finds folic acid deficiency is extremely rare, making routine tests unnecessary in the general population.

All-in-One Pill to Prevent Heart Disease?

Aug 08, 2014
A polypill to prevent heart disease has the potential to save millions of lives, according to experts.

Sitting Too Much Diminishes Fitness Level

Aug 08, 2014
No matter how much you may exercise, sitting for long periods of time reduces fitness, finds study.

Staying Active and Reducing Sedentary Time Key to Combating Obesity

Aug 08, 2014
Study finds that increasing physical activity and limiting sedentary time is the best combination for obesity prevention.

Reducing Risk of Heart Complications During Surgery

Aug 01, 2014
New guidelines help doctors and patients make the best possible decisions related to non-cardiac surgery.

Reducing Health Disparities in Hispanics and Latinos

Jul 31, 2014
Hispanics in the U.S. face dramatic health disparities, according to a recently-released statement.

Short Runs May Help Adults Live Longer, Healthier Lives

Jul 29, 2014
According to a recent study, running just 5-10 minutes a day could have significant health benefits.

Heat Stroke, Not Sudden Cardiac Death, is Top Threat for Marathon Runners

Jul 28, 2014
Long distance running involves a slightly increased risk of death, with heat stroke being the main cause, finds study.

Minding Your Portions

Jul 28, 2014
Committing to a heart-healthy diet can help reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke or repeat events. This includes watching what you put on your plate.

Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women Encouraged to Increase Seafood Consumption

Jun 24, 2014
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency recently updated guidelines regarding seafood consumption for pregnant and breastfeeding women.

E-cigarettes Can Help Smokers Quit

Jun 23, 2014
E-cigarettes are as effective as the patch in helping smokers quit, finds study.

Heart Events Worsen Outcomes for Patients with Chronic Kidney Disease

Jun 23, 2014

Study highlights importance of heart disease prevention for patients with chronic kidney disease.

Are Diet Drinks on Par with Water for Losing Weight?

Jun 13, 2014
According to a new study, diet beverages could help people lose more weight than drinking water alone.

Phone-Based Support Helps Heart Patients with Depression

Jun 12, 2014
Researchers develop simple, cost-effective treatment for heart patients diagnosed with depression or anxiety.

Spirit of the Heart in South Bronx, NY

Jun 07, 2014
Spirit of the Heart events offer heart disease screening and events in underserved communities.

Web-Based Program Helps Patients Improve Heart Health

Jun 05, 2014
Not only do Web-based programs help patients lower risk for heart disease, they’re more affordable than traditional counseling, according to study.

Worldwide Obesity Rates 'Startling'

May 30, 2014
Major study finds obesity rates have increased dramatically in all corners of the world over last three decades.

NIH Engages Women in Medical Research

May 29, 2014
The National Institutes of Health has unveiled new policies that will engage women in all phases of medical research.

Reducing Salt Intake, Nationwide

May 22, 2014
Experts identify ways to reduce salt consumption and improve heart health in the United States.

'Exercise Snacking': The Latest Health Trend?

May 14, 2014
Adding small bursts of exercise before meals could bring big health benefits, finds study.

Growing Use of ICDs to Prevent Sudden Cardiac Death

May 09, 2014
More patients may be eligible to receive implantable cardioverter-defibrillators, according to a scientific statement released by the American College of Cardiology Foundation and American Heart Association.

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