What is Rheumatic Heart Disease?
The Rheumatism term is used to define medical conditions occurring in connective tissue and joints. Few conditions which were earlier referred as rheumatism or termed rheumatic diseases had later been classified as osteoarthritis, arthritis, tendonitis, lupus and Fibromyalgia. Autoimmune disorders that are unnamed yet caused pain and also affected other organs had been classed as rheumatism.
It is an illness caused due to bacterial infection by the reaction, which often results in lasting damage to heart valves. The most important cause of rheumatic heart disease (RHD) is premature mortality. Almost all cases of RHD and associated deaths are preventable. It is found among children and young people in developing countries.
Causes of Rheumatic Heart Disease
The rheumatic heart disease is a condition where rheumatic fever results from an untreated strep throat; it can damage the heart valves. Due to this if the heart valves are damaged, they will not be able to open and close properly. So that Rheumatic fever can cause rheumatic heart disease
Rheumatic Heart Disease symptoms
The symptoms are generally started almost 1 to 5 weeks after the child has been infested with Streptococcus bacteria. The most common symptoms are:
Breathlessness Fatigue Swelling (oedema) Heart Palpitations Breathing problem when lying Chest pain Fainting attack Joint inflammation Weight loss
Can Rheumatic Heart Disease be prevented?
Rheumatic heart disease (RHD) is always the great curse. Heart Disease Prevention is vital for people with indications of possible strep throat to see the doctor, especially children between 5 to 15. If a person is diagnosed with GAS strep throat then it is important for him/her to complete the entire course of antibiotics which is prescribed by the doctor.
Penicillin or other antibiotics can successfully treat rheumatic Heart Diseases as well as prevent rheumatic fever from ever occurring by treating streptococcus bacteria. Treatment can generally stop acute rheumatic fever from developing.
There is a risk of heart damage to the people who have already had attacks of the rheumatic fever. They may be given continuous daily or monthly antibiotic treatment, maybe even for life. The risk of bacterial endocarditis may be increased, if they are given different antibiotics when they undergo surgical or dental procedure.
Treatment of Rheumatic Heart Disease
Strep throat is treated with antibiotics. If strep throat develops into rheumatic fever, the physician will normally prescribe an injection of a long-acting antibiotic to clear up the infection, along with high doses of anti-inflammatory medications to reduce the irritation in the joints as well as in the heart. Doctors generally recommend bed rest, and will continuously check the heart for any problems. The patient is usually put on strict bed rest , if the heart is inflamed .
The patients need to take antibiotics continuously for life or before any surgery or visits to the dentist if the rheumatic fever becomes chronic rheumatic heart disease. It is indeed essential for every person with rheumatic heart disease to have his or her heart function evaluated by a cardiologist to see if surgery or other intervention is needed.