According to rheumatology, rheumatic fever (RF) is an inflammatory reaction that develops as a complication of a Group A streptococcal infection like scarlet fever or strep throat, and it usually occurs when the infection is left untreated for long.
Even though not everyone having streptococcal infection is likely to develop RF, its symptoms usually appear for two to four weeks when they are infected. This condition mostly affects boys and girls who are aged between five and fifteen years, but it can also occur in younger children as well as adults.
Rheumatic fever can also cause complications that last for the long-term, the most common among it being the rheumatic heart disease which gets often developed in thirty to forty-five percent of people with RF.
Before introducing antibiotics in a widespread manner, RF was a condition which was the reason for causing acquired heart disease, especially in developed countries. But with the development of medical technology and more antibiotics, this condition is relatively rare in these nations.
Rheumatic Fever is often caused due to a reaction to the bacteria that cause strep throat. Therefore, the diagnosis of this condition can prevent you from developing RF. The common symptoms of strep throat are sore throat, headache, tender and swollen lymph nodes, abdominal pain, swollen tonsils, trouble in swallowing, red skin rash, high temperature, vomiting and nausea, etc. These symptoms and signs are generally seen to be developing with two to four weeks after getting a streptococcal infection.
Some individuals suffering from RF would mostly experience one or two of some symptoms such as fatigue, rapid heart rate, swelling and pain in the joints, fever, splotchy rash, uncontrollable twitching, and movements, reduced ability to exercise, etc. while others experience most of these symptoms.
The pain in the joints affect seventy-five percent of the people and it normally begins at the larger joints of the human body such as the ankles, knees, and wrists, before it moves to the other joints. This type of inflammation normally goes away with 6 weeks without causing any permanent damage.
Inflammation in the heart can result in having chest pain, palpitations, panting, fatigue, shortness of breath, etc. Almost fifty percent of patients have valvulitis or carditis, both of which are fatal inflammation of the heart that often can have serious effects on patients.