Rheumatic Fever

Rheumatic fever is a major health concern in the developing countries. It is commonly seen in children between five and fifteen years of age. It is observed in young adults as well. Here you can read about causes, symptoms and treatment for rheumatic fever.

What is rheumatic fever?

Strep throat or scarlet fever if untreated can lead to many other complications. Rheumatic fever is one of the major complications associated with strep throat or the scarlet fever. It is an inflammatory disease. However, all cases of strep throat or scarlet fever do not lead to rheumatic fever.

The bacterium named streptococcus is responsible for the infection leading to scarlet fever and strep throat. The body reacts to its own tissues when infected with the bacteria leading to rheumatic fever. It will result in inflammation throughout the body and get you other symptoms of rheumatic fever.

Here goes the commonly found symptoms of rheumatic fever:

  • High fever
  • Swelling in the throat
  • Swelling in the nymph nodes
  • Headache and heavy feeling in the head
  • A kind of small and red spots in the upper part of the mouth
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Swelling and redness in tonsils
  • Pain and swelling in the joints
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Murmuring noise from the heart
  • Thick discharge from the nose

Risks associated with rheumatic fever

Rheumatic fever has become rare these days although strep throat occurs commonly. However, the risks associated with this type of fever cannot be ignored. If proper treatment is not taken, it can result in permanent damage of the heart or even death.

How to prevent rheumatic fever

As mentioned earlier, rheumatic fever is a complication of strep throat or scarlet fever. It is very essential to take proper medical treatment when you show symptoms of strep throat. If the child gets proper treatment for strep throat, rheumatic fever can be prevented.

The child will be a higher risk of getting rheumatic fever in case of:

  • Family history: The child will be at a higher risk as genes may likely promote the development of rheumatic fever, according to studies.
  • Type of strep bacteria: There are different types of bacteria and certain types may lead to rheumatic fever
  • Hygiene and safety measures: The poor hygiene conditions and unhealthy surrounding may promote the development of rheumatic fever.

Complications associated with rheumatic fever

The major risk associate with rheumatic fever is that it may lead to heart diseases at a later period in life; say 10 to 20 years later. If untreated, rheumatic fever can lead to a number of serious complications like:

  • Valve regurgitation
  • Damage to heart muscles
  • Valve stenosis

Diagnosis and treatment

Blood test, echocardiogram, electrocardiogram etc are used in the diagnosis of the disease and to find abnormalities in the heart. Treatment includes antibiotics, anti-inflammatory and anticonvulsant medications. Long time care is a must for the child under the supervision of a medical professional, even after recovery from illness.

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