The term "rheumatic" refers to viscous fluid or synovial joints of the body, implies an illness related with abnormalities of synovial joints. Synovial is a Viscid lubricating fluid secreted by the membrane lining joints and tendon sheaths etc. Any joint in the body which produces this fluid is known as a synovial joint. It commonly appears in children ages 6 through 15.
Rheumatic fever is associated with the development of heart valve disease and other heart disorders. It can also affect joints, skin, and brain. Regarding joint pain, mostly larger joints, especially the knee, is most commonly involved. Later, the pain flits from one joint to another like knee, elbow, shoulder and ankle etc. About 3% of people with untreated strep infections get rheumatic fever.
Alternative Names: Acute Rheumatic Fever
Causes of Rheumatic Fever
Rheumatic fever is common worldwide and is responsible for many cases of damaged heart valves. When a common strain of bacteria known as "Strep," or "Streptococcus pyogenes", presented in the throat and nose for months without causing any harm becomes active, they produce an infection. The initial infection is sore throat and then inflammation and swelling of joints.
Usually within 1 to 5 weeks of throat infection, the disease develops. This illness can affect the normal lifestyle of the patient. The complication of the disease can be very grave.
Signs & Symptoms of Rheumatic Fever
Rheumatic fever symptoms start with redness and pain in the throat. Manifestation of the complaints varies from patient to patient. Usually, acute symptoms go off within 4-6 weeks. The common accompanying complaints are muscle pain, malaise, abdomen pain, vomiting, chest pain, nose bleed, restlessness, difficulty in breathing, pneumonia, difficulty in speaking or writing, tremors, etc.
Diagnosis of Rheumatic Fever
Because this disease has different forms, there is no specific test that can firmly diagnose it. Following are a few major diagnostic measures which could helpful in diagnosis Rheumatic Fever:
The doctor will perform a careful examination, which includes physical check up of body by checking heart sounds, skin, and joints. The diagnostic tests includes:
Preventions of Rheumatic Fever
Treatments of Rheumatic Fever
When to Call a Doctor
Call your doctor if you develop symptoms of rheumatic fever. Because several other conditions have similar symptoms, you will need careful medical evaluation. You will need to be evaluated and treated if you do have strep throat, to decrease your risk of developing rheumatic fever.