Healthy Living

What is Rheumatic Fever?

What is Rheumatic Fever?

Key Takeaways

Rheumatic fever is a complicated, nonsuppurative disease that affects the joints, blood vessels, heart, brain, and skin. It is an acute inflammatory response that has a PAST untreated or slightly treated Group A or group B beta-hemolytic streptococcal infection, such as strep throat or scarlet fever. Moreover, it can result in rheumatic heart disease.

Rheumatic fever after strep throat:

Rheumatic fever is caused by the Streptococcus pyogenes, which is also known as group A streptococcus bacteria. Strep throat infection leaves its sufferers with having sore throat pain along with a rash, fever, fatigue, swollen lymph glands of the neck, headaches, and difficulty in swallowing. 

When this infection is left untreated, the bacteria can remain in your tonsils, which releases antibodies. These direct your immune system to attack the other organs of your body mistakenly, such as the skin, joints, and the heart, which may lead to rheumatic fever. The fact is that you will never know that you have a rheumatic fever after a strep throat; if you don't diagnose your strep throat properly or fail to take treatment at the right time. As the streptococci bacteria do not cause all sore throat infections, so it is not surprising to delay in the treatment, or previously diagnosed, to fail to finish all of the doctor's prescribed doses of the antibiotic. 

Rheumatic fever mostly occurs in winter and spring as strep throat infections usually occur more frequently in these seasons. Rheumatic fever can cause inflammation. Although the symptoms of rheumatic fever may vary from person to person, it is usually characterized by hot swollen or red swollen joints,  a flat-raised rash, tender or painful joints, chest pain, pain that migrates from joint to joint, heart palpitations, unusual fatigue, fever, and shortness of breath. Moreover, a patient with rheumatic fever may experience jerky as well as uncontrollable body movements plus also outbursts of inappropriate behavior like crying or unusual laughing. The other effect of rheumatic fever is, it may result in rheumatic heart disease along with the inflammation which damages the heart as well as heart valves. This heart damage due to rheumatic heart disease is usually permanent as well as life-long results that include Valve regurgitation and Valve stenosis.