DiseaseRheumatic heart disease is a condition in which the heart
valves are damaged by rheumatic fever.
Rheumatic fever begins with a strep throat (also called strep
pharyngitis). Strep throat is caused by Streptococcus bacteria.
It is the most common bacterial infection of the throat.
Rheumatic fever is an inflammatory disease. It can affect many
of the body's connective tissues — especially those of the
heart, joints, brain or skin. Anyone can get acute rheumatic
fever, but it usually occurs in children five to 15 years old.
The rheumatic heart disease that results can last for life.
Symptoms may include: • fever
• painful, tender, red swollen joints
• pain in one joint that migrates to another one
• heart palpitations
• chest pain
• shortness of breath
• skin rashes
• small, painless nodules under the skin
The symptoms of rheumatic fever usually appear about three weeks
after the strep throat.
The best defense against rheumatic heart disease is to prevent
rheumatic fever from ever occurring. By treating strep throat
with penicillin or other antibiotics, doctors can usually stop
acute rheumatic fever from developing.
People who've already had rheumatic fever are more susceptible
to recurrent attacks and heart damage. That's why they're given
continuous monthly or daily Antibiotic treatment, maybe for
life. If their heart has been damaged by rheumatic fever,
they're also at increased risk for developing infective endocarditis (also known as
bacterial endocarditis), an
infection of the heart's lining or valves.
Taking a proper heart disease diet is very important to prevent
and control this disease. Taking a good dose of whole grain
cereals, pulses, legumes, fruits, vegetables, low-fat milk and
milk products, lean meat and eggs and plenty of water can help
in maintaining an overall good health.
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