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Rheumatic Fever

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Untreated streptococcal throat infections can lead to the dangerous inflammatory illness known as rheumatic fever, especially in children aged five to fifteen. If left untreated, this disease can cause irreversible damage to the heart valves, a condition known as rheumatic heart disease. It affects the heart, joints, brain, and skin, among other sections of the body.Rheumatic fever is mostly caused by an aberrant immunological response to the streptococcal bacterium. The immune system may unintentionally target and attack vital tissues, particularly those of the heart, joints, brain, and skin, in patients with a streptococcal throat infection if they do not receive the appropriate antibiotic treatment. A variety of symptoms with varying degrees of severity may arise from this. Arthritis is a common sign of rheumatic fever, characterized by painful, swollen joints, especially in the knees, ankles, elbows, and wrists. Larger joints are usually affected by this arthritis, which can spread to different joints. Fever, exhaustion, and erythema marginatum—a distinctive rash—are among symptoms that people with rheumatic fever may encounter. This rash typically affects the inner surfaces of the arms and legs, appearing as pink rings with a pale center. The possible effects of rheumatic fever on the heart are arguably the most worrisome. Both myocarditis, or inflammation of the heart muscle, and valvulitis, or inflammation of the heart valves, are possible. Heart valve scarring and thickening, especially in the mitral valve (which regulates blood flow between the heart's chambers), can result from valve valvulitis. Rheumatic heart disease, a disorder marked by impaired heart function and an elevated risk of heart failure, may eventually arise from this injury.Laboratory testing, medical history review, and physical examination are all used in the diagnosis of rheumatic fever. Antibiotics are usually used as a treatment to get rid of the streptococcal infection; anti-inflammatory drugs are used to control symptoms and reduce inflammation; and in extreme situations, drugs are used to stop additional heart damage. Prevention is essential, particularly in populations with high rates of streptococcal infections. It is imperative to treat strep throat promptly with antibiotics in order to avoid the development of rheumatic fever. Furthermore, promoting proper hygiene habits like frequent hand washing can help stop the spread of streptococcal infections. To monitor heart health and prevent problems, people with a history of rheumatic fever should see a healthcare practitioner on a frequent basis.