Find about Rheumatic Fever Symptoms, Causes & Best Treatment

Rheumatic fever (RF) is an autoimmune inflammatory condition caused if strep throat or scarlet fever is not treated properly. An infection brings on scarlet fever and strep throat with streptococcus bacteria. Children aged 5 to 15 are most commonly affected by rheumatic fever. However, both adults and younger children can get it.

Heart failure and heart valve damage caused by rheumatic fever are both irreversible. Treatment can reduce inflammation-related damage, improve discomfort, and prevent rheumatic fever from recurring.


Symptoms

The symptoms of rheumatic fever vary. One may experience one or more symptoms, and they may change throughout an illness. Signs and symptoms include


When To See a Doctor?

Untreated Streptococcus bacterial infections can lead to the condition known as rheumatic fever. If left untreated, rheumatic fever can cause life-threatening consequences, including rheumatic heart disease. If children have any of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with a doctor right away:


Causes

When the body’s immune system overreacts, it fights healthy tissues and results in rheumatic fever (RF). Untreated scarlet fever or strep throat infection can trigger this overreaction. When group A streptococcus infections are not properly managed with antibiotics can lead to RF, but the exact mechanism causing the condition is not well understood.


Risk Factors

Genes:

Some people may be susceptible to rheumatic fever by one or more genetic makeup.

A specific type of strep bacteria:

Some types of strep bacteria are more prone than others to cause rheumatic fever.

Environmental factors:

Overcrowding, poor sanitation, and other conditions that make it easy for streptococcus germs to infect people and increases risk of RF.

Complications

Aortic valve stenosis:

Aortic valve stenosis is narrowing of the heart's aortic valve.

Aortic regurgitation:

Aortic regurgitation is caused by a leak in the aortic valve, which allows blood to flow backward.

Heart muscle damage:

It is caused by inflammation, which weakens the heart muscles and reduces the heart's ability to pump blood effectively.

Atrial fibrillation:

Atrial fibrillation is an irregular heartbeat in the heart's upper chambers.

Heart failure:

Heart failure happens when the heart can no longer pump blood to all body regions.


Prevention

  • Antibiotics should be started within nine days after the beginning of a sore throat that has been diagnosed as strep throat.
  • To help prevent strep infections and recurrent rheumatic fever, use penicillin.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly and regularly.
  • Because strep germs can survive on objects for some time, disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
  • If the child has strep throat, keep them home for at least 12 hours after taking medicines to guarantee the infection has cleared.

Diagnosis

  • The doctor will discuss the symptoms, medical history, and conduct a physical examination.
    • The diagnostic tests are:
    • Throat swabs are used to detect Group A streptococcus bacteria.
    • Blood tests to look for markers that indicate inflammation
    • An electrocardiogram (ECG) test measures the electrical activity of the heart.
    • Chest x-rays to examine heart enlargement and lung congestion.

Treatment

Rheumatic fever treatment aims at eliminating the bacterial infection. The treatments then target inflammation throughout the body. The therapy for rheumatic fever include:

Antibiotics:

Antibiotics are prescribed by doctors to treat the underlying bacterial infection. Some antibiotics require only one injection. Others are taken orally for a week or longer.

Anti-inflammatory medications:

The doctor will most likely recommend taking aspirin to minimise inflammation (swelling) throughout the body. This drug may also help with symptoms like joint pain. In the case of severe symptoms, the doctor may prescribe a stronger anti-inflammatory medication.

Other treatments:

RF can affect people in many different ways. The doctor may recommend other treatments depending on the condition. In severe cases, heart surgery or joint therapies may be required to manage major consequences.


Do’s and Don’ts

Rheumatic disorders include autoimmune and inflammatory conditions as well as arthritic diseases. Although medical treatments and frequent check-ups with the doctor are critical, nutrition, exercise, and psychological stress all significantly influence our physical health and well-being.

When it comes to rheumatic disorders, the saying "you are what you eat" has a lot of reality. Many foods and beverage categories have worsened symptoms and made the disease more difficult to treat. Following these do's and don'ts will help you to manage this condition.

Do’s Don’ts
Take antibiotics as prescribed by the doctor Eat excessive amounts of sugar and processed foods
Include fresh fruits, vegetables, grain, and lean meat products in the dietEat foods containing gluten
Drink sufficient fluids during feverSelf medicate without consulting the doctor
Get a prompt evaluation for future sore throats.Skip the doctor's appointment
Exercise regularly to maintain healthy body weightConsume alcohol and smoke

Individuals with rheumatic fever often need lifelong medical treatment to protect their health. To fight this condition, take care of yourself and keep yourself internally strong.


Care at Medicover Hospitals

At Medicover Hospitals, we have the most trusted group of doctors and healthcare professionals skilled at providing the best medical treatment to patients while showing compassion and care. Our diagnostic department is equipped with state-of-the-art technology and equipment to conduct the necessary investigations for diagnosing Rheumatic Fever. Our excellent team comprises Rheumatologists and general physicians who use a systematic and multi-disciplinary approach to identify and treat the condition. They provide therapy for this condition with great precision offering desirable results.

Citations

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3232519/
https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/rheumatic-fever/
https://rarediseases.org/rare-diseases/rheumatic-fever/
https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/rheumatic-heart-disease
https://www.texasheart.org/heart-health/heart-information-center/topics/rheumatic-fever/
https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/rheumatic-fever

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