10 Symptoms of Rheumatic Fever

By james
Reviewed: Dr. Gromatzky
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Group A Streptococcus is the bacterium that is responsible for causing strep throat. It is also responsible for causing scarlet fever, which is less common. These conditions are potentially serious, although they are fairly easy to treat. If they are not treated, however, then further, more serious, problems can arise.

Rheumatic fever is an illness that leads on from strep throat and scarlet fever if they are not treated properly. It causes inflammation throughout the body, which is the cause of the symptoms associated with the disease.

It is quite rare in the West, but more common in other parts of the world. It is a potentially serious condition that should be treated as soon as possible.

Symptom #1: Fever

Having a fever does not necessarily mean that you have a serious illness. Indeed, they are actually quite common and will usually pass within a couple of days. They are a response by the immune system to the presence of a pathogen, and the body’s temperature is raised to try to kill the intruder.

Sometimes, though, the presence of a fever can indicate something potentially serious, such as rheumatic fever. Serious fevers can also run dangerously high and present a direct threat themselves, so the patient should be monitored closely at all times. This is especially the case when dealing with very young patients.

Rheumatic Fever

Symptom #2: Swollen Joints

When somebody has rheumatic fever, their body tissues can be attacked by their own body. This can be particularly noticeable in and around the joints, which can become swollen as a result. Joints such as the ankles, elbows, knees, and wrists are most likely to be affected and it can become very uncomfortable for the patient.

In addition to swelling, the joints can also become sore and hot to the touch. Such symptoms might often be passed off as being typical of flu symptoms, although the swelling should indicate something else. These symptoms should hopefully disappear once the cause has been successfully treated.

Symptom #3: Skin Bumps

When looking for the cause of an illness, a doctor will often want to look over the patient’s skin, and for very good reasons. The skin will often show tell-tale signs of a specific illness, helping the professional to find the right treatment, quickly. In the case of rheumatic fever, an inspection of the skin can also help the professionals diagnose the problem.

People with rheumatic fever will usually have small bumps, or nodules, under the skin. These are usually small and painless, meaning that they might not even be noticed until a full inspection is made. If you do notice them yourself, you should let a doctor know.

Rheumatic Fever

Symptom #4: Fatigue

Kids are usually bounding with energy, leaving it difficult for older people to keep up. They will often just keep on going nonstop throughout the day until it is finally time for them to crash. If they become ill, though, then they are unlikely to have anywhere near the energy levels they usually have.

Being sick can be exhausting, for children and adults alike. Beneath the skin, the body can be a battleground as the fight to beat the infection rages. It is generally recommended that people get plenty of rest when they are sick, as this helps the body in overcoming the illness.

Symptom #5: Heart Murmur

Our heart beats at a steady pace. Usually, it can beat fairly slowly, at least until increased activity increases the body’s demand for oxygen. This steady beat is also usually quite easy to find and can also be heard, especially with a stethoscope. Sometimes, a stethoscope might find other sounds as well.

A heart murmur is described as a “whooshing” or “swishing” sound coming from the heart. What you hear is the sound of blood flowing through the heart, often through a valve that might be inflamed or has some other problem. While a heart murmur is not usually a dangerous thing directly, the cause should definitely be treated.

Rheumatic Fever

Symptom #6: Chest Pain

It is not often that we get a chest pain. When we do, it is generally something that should not be ignored. This is because the chest area is home to organs and blood vessels that are essential for our well-being and our survival. If something goes wrong here, our lives could be in immediate danger.

Not all such pains are immediately dangerous to us, but many should still be treated with a matter of urgency. Rheumatic fever can cause an inflammation of the heart, resulting in a chest pain that should be treated as soon as possible. Leaving it can be fatal, so it is best to get it checked out.

Symptom #7: Jerky Movements

Humans are generally fairly lithe animals, at least when we are in good physical condition. Our actions are usually quite smooth, but this can be affected by some illnesses. One symptom of rheumatic fever is that the patient can begin to make erratic, jerky movements.

These movements are uncontrollable and will most affect the face, hands, and feet. They are also known as St. Vitus’ dance or Sydenham Chorea. Such symptoms can be caused by a range of conditions that are likely to be quite serious. You should arrange to get it checked out as soon as possible if you have not done so already.

Rheumatic Fever

Symptom #8: Erythema Marginatum

As mentioned before, looking at a patient’s skin will often give a lot away about their condition. Many illnesses cause quite specific rashes that can help doctors to pinpoint the cause of an illness, or at least to narrow it down to a few. Such is the case with rheumatic fever, which can cause a rash known technically as erythema marginatum.

The rash is described as being red or pink rings, slightly raised, and with a ragged edge. Fortunately, for the patient, the rash is also painless. If you do notice any unusual rashes on your child’s skin, you should arrange to get it checked out as soon as you can.

Symptom #9: Moving Joint Pain

Some illnesses have symptoms that are so specific that they make it much easier for a diagnosis to be made. This is a positive thing because it helps the professionals to find the right treatment as quickly as possible. In the case of rheumatic fever, the pains in the joints that have already been mentioned above can be found moving from one joint to another.

If you do notice any unusual symptoms, you should be sure to make sure that you let your doctor known. Even information that might not seem important to you can be extremely useful to the professionals.

Symptom #10: Outbursts

While we are all different, most of us are usually quite calm without particularly erratic behavior. Of course, certain events can change our behavior, but still we still usually have a good idea of how certain people are likely to behave. Children with rheumatic fever, however, can become very erratic indeed.

Those with the illness can experience sudden outbursts for no apparent reason. They can suddenly start laughing for no reason, or they can just start crying uncontrollably. This is in addition to other erratic movements that can be brought on by the jerky physical movements mentioned before.

Rheumatic Fever

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