Rheumatic Heart Disease - Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

RICHARD G 9:36:00 AM

Rheumatic Heart Disease - Symptoms, Causes and Treatment of Rheumatic Heart Disease. Rheumatic heart disease is a condition in which the heart valve is damaged by complications from a rheumatic fever, which is an inflammatory disease that can affect various organs of the body.

Rheumatic heart disease needs to be treated immediately and the treatment will be adjusted to the damage occurring. When not treated immediately, rheumatic heart disease could potentially cause heart failure until death.
Rheumatic Heart Disease
Rheumatic Heart Disease
Symptoms of rheumatic heart disease
The symptoms that arise in each person may differ depending on the severity of the disease and the damage caused to the heart. Damage to the heart can cause symptoms, such as:
  • Shortness of breath, especially when the activity or when lying down.
  • Arrhythmia.
  • Chest pain.
  • Fast tired.
As already mentioned earlier, rheumatic heart disease is a complication of rheumatic fever. So before the patient experience symptoms of rheumatic heart disease, the patient will first experience rheumatic fever symptoms, such as:
  • Fever.
  • Sweating.
  • Nosebleeds.
  • Vomiting.
  • The pain appears in the stomach.
  • Enlarged lymph nodes or lumps in the neck.
  • Inflammation of joints, especially in the ankles and knees.

As the name suggests, there will be a fever. The fever is also not too high, at most about 38 °c. Then, there is a complaint of sore throat that is characterized by pain and there can be coughs. Because this is especially concerned with children, complaints that often arise are the child will not eat because his throat hurts.

Then, the child may be a small cough, but not accompanied by a cold. Some other signs, such as the enlargement of the lymph nodes in the neck that are one sign of a throat infection will usually only be recognized by the doctor.

Signs of rheumatic fever usually arises 2-3 weeks after the infection of the throat begins. At this time, symptoms of inflammation are caused by immunological reactions. The most common is inflammation in the joints. Large joints, especially in the knees, elbows, wrists, and ankles, will swell, appear reddish, feel warm if palpable and felt sick by the child. Often, this inflammation will move from one point to another, such as the first joint on the knee, the next to the elbow, and so on. So that inflammation in this joint is called a polyarthritis of migrants, meaning inflammation in many moving joints.

Another sign that can arise is if the disease affects the brain, so there is a symptom called chorea. The Chorea is involuntary movements, especially on the hands, but can also occur on the legs, face and other parts of the body. So, usually the hand will be twitching, but the child does not intend to move it. In the lighter chorea, maybe the child will just complain of difficulty writing.

Well, although these symptoms are quite "strange", this is really a medical symptom, so do not be immediately regarded as mystical events that need treatment from Balian or the like! In addition, chorea can be accompanied by behavioral changes, such as children suddenly angry and crying for no reason, and so on.

The most exciting and alarming thing is if until the heart is affected. Usually, the symptoms that arise are shortness of breath, heart palpitations, rapid heartbeat, chest pains, and rapid Capek. In children who are still smaller, usually, the child will quickly get tired and not come to play with his friends. While the older children, also will not be a lot of activity and if asked would usually admit themselves that he quickly tired and shortness of breath.

There are also other signs, such as subcutaneous nodules, i.e. small bumps under the skin. However, since it doesn't seem obvious, it's usually only a doctor can find – it's not always. Another sign is a red rash on the skin, called erythema marginatum, but this sign is included that is less common.

Causes of rheumatic heart disease
Rheumatic heart disease is a complication of rheumatic fever, which is caused by A throat infection by type A Streptococcus bacteria. The transmission of A type A Streptococcus infection can occur directly through a splash of saliva or phlegm When an infected person sneezes or coughs. In addition, to direct, transmission can also occur through objects contaminated with bacteria.

Rheumatic heart disease can occur at any age, but most often occurs in children aged 5-15 years.
Factors of environmental hygiene and health conditions in general and nutrition, of course, have the role of rheumatic fever disease.

Then, there is also a genetic role in it, so there are people who are indeed "talented" to experience rheumatic fever after suffering a throat infection. This "talent" is also often found in more than one member in a family.

Rheumatic fever can be started from a throat infection. This throat infection is often the result of a bacteria whose name is A Group of streptococcal. In all people, such infections will cause immune reactions or immune reactions to fight these bacteria.

Well, on people who are "gifted", this immune reaction will not only slaughter the streptococcal bacteria, but it will also attack the body itself. Especially in certain parts of the body, such as the joints, heart, skin, and brain, resulting in inflammatory reactions or inflammation.

Diagnosis of rheumatic heart disease
In advance, the doctor will examine the symptoms, health history, and the patient's overall condition. After that, the diagnosis process is continued by ensuring that there is a throat infection caused by A type A Streptococcus bacteria.

In detecting bacteria, the doctor will perform a blood test and bacterial culture test by taking samples of the swab or a sore throat.

After that, the diagnosis process can be continued by performing a series of tests to examine heart conditions. Some of the tests used are:
  • Chest X-ray photo
  • Electrocardiography
  • Echocardiography
  • Cardiac MRI
Treatment of rheumatic heart disease
The treatment of rheumatic heart disease will be adjusted to the damage that occurs in the heart. In this case, the patient is advised to consult a physician in advance. The doctor will determine the appropriate treatment method and according to the patient's condition.

The treatment of rheumatic heart disease can be given medication. The drug used to treat rheumatic heart disease, among others:
  • Antibiotics, such as penicillins. Antibiotic administration aims to eradicate type A Streptococcus bacteria.
  • Aspirin, the drug is administered to relieve inflammation.
  • Corticosteroids, such as prednisone. The administration of corticosteroid drugs also aims to relieve inflammation.
If Drug Administration is not effective or conditions deteriorate, treatment can be done by surgery. Surgery is a heart valve repair or replacement depending on the conditions. Discuss further the appropriate operation as well as the benefits and risks of such operations.

Complications of rheumatic heart disease
The rheumatic heart disease that does not get treatment potentially causes complications, including:
  • Heart failure
  • Arrhythmia
  • Pulmonary Edema
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Endocarditis
Prevention of rheumatic heart disease
Rheumatic heart disease can be prevented by avoiding various factors causing the Streptococcus infection which became the beginning of the appearance of rheumatic heart disease. Efforts that can be done, among others:
  • Wash your hands after activity.
  • Apply a healthy diet.
  • Adequate rest.
  • Avoid sharing personal belongings.
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