Rheumatic fever is an infectious inflammatory disease arising mainly from inadequately treated strep throat or scarlet fever. The streptococcus bacterium is the main cause for strep throat or scarlet fever. It may lead to severe illness of the heart, skin, joints, and brain. It also causes the body to attack its own tissues leading to inflammation in the whole body.
Lifestyle, unhygienic living conditions and environmental factors are the main reasons for rheumatic fever. Rheumatic fever may even lead to permanent damage to the heart and other heart-related diseases. It is very common among children and adolescents of ages between 5 to 15 years.
Symptoms of rheumatic fever are usually identifiable after two to four weeks of strep throat infection.
Signs And Symptoms
- Enormous sweating
- Stomach pains
- Difficulty breathing
- Swollen joints and bumps beneath the skin
- Blood loss from nose
- Painful and tender joints
- Chest pain
- Heart murmur
- Fatigue, headache, and nausea
- Painless reddish rash
- Uncontrollable body movements of hands, face and feet
- Unusual behavior like crying or laughing
Diagnosis And Treatment
There's no single test for rheumatic fever, diagnosis is based on medical history, physical exam and certain test results such as blood tests, ECG and Echocardiogram. Rheumatic fever can be prevented by properly treating sore throat and scarlet fever with antibiotics.
Treatment is aimed at destroying the bacteria, relieving the symptoms, lessen inflammation and prevent reoccurrences. Treatment method includes prescribed antibiotics, anti-inflammatory, and anticonvulsant medications.