Affecting several thousand Americans each year, myocarditis is a disease marked by inflammation of the heart muscle (myocardium). Exactly how many people are affected is hard to know because myocarditis often produces no symptoms.
A wide range of infections and other problems can lead to myocarditis, which often develops in people who are otherwise healthy. Prevention or prompt treatment of infections is one of the best ways to prevent myocarditis.
A person's risk of heart attack greatly increases with the number of cigarettes he or she smokes. Smokers continue to increase their risk of heart attack the longer they smoke, as well. People who smoke a pack of cigarettes a day have more than twice the risk of heart attack than non-smokers. Women who smoke and also take birth control pills increase several times their risk of heart attack, stroke, blood clots, and peripheral vascular disease.
Cigarette smoke not only affects smokers. When you smoke, the people around you are also at risk for developing health problems, especially children. Environmental tobacco smoke (also called passive smoke or secondhand smoke) affects people who are frequently around smokers. Secondhand smoke can cause chronic respiratory conditions, cancer, and heart disease. It is estimated that around 35,000 nonsmokers die from heart disease each year as a result of exposure to environmental tobacco smoke.