The symptoms of rheumatic fever usually develop one to five weeks after a streptococcal throat infection.
In a majority of cases the disease will begin following a case of acute angina or pharyngitis. In other cases, patients will suffer from other focal infections such as dental granulomas or abscesses, otitis, paradontosis, sinusitis, or other diseases where Streptococcus is involved such as scarlet fever, etc.
Upon the streptococcal infection until the emergence of symptoms of rheumatic polyarthritis, a long latent period must pass, which usually lasts from one up until 4 weeks.
During this asymptomatic period, the patient will feel physically well, but there may be prodromal (warning) symptoms, such as general fatigue, pallor, sub-febrile (low-grade) fever, arthralgia or myalgia (pain in the joints or muscles), digestive problems (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, etc).
High fever: 38-39 degrees
A burning feeling in the throat
Redness of the pharynges and the tonsils, they may even contain purulent exudate
Enlargement of the submandibular lymph nodes
Red splotches in the mouth cavity
Articular pain, which involves the pain jumping from joint to joint in quick succession
Articular rheumatism will not cause deformations, ankylosis, or infection of the articulation, but it will affect the heart, and cause myocarditis, endocarditis, and more rarely, pericarditis.
Heart damage constitutes the major risk, whereas articular changes will usually subside without medication.
respiratory insufficiency (difficulties breathing) especially in children, especially at night
a state of general lethargy
chorea minor which is mostly observed in young girls. These are small convulsive attacks, which appear epileptic and require specific medication.
The most common forms of rheumatic polyarthritis are not the severe cases which involve a high fever and especially pronounced articular symptoms. More often the disease presents in the form of febrile polyarthralgia.
The inaccurate assessment of these conditions, especially in children for whom the disease is most common, leads to a slower determination of diagnosis. This may be a mistake which can keep from preventing heart damage.
Common symptoms of rheumatic fever are described below.
Pain and swelling of the joints ( Arthritis ) is the most common symptom of rheumatic fever, affecting three out offour people.
The larger joints, such as the knees, ankles, elbows and wrists are usually affected, typically on both sides of the body. Several joints are usually affected at the same time.
The symptoms of arthritis should pass within four to six weeks as the inflammation settles, without causing any permanent damage.
Inflammation of the heart (carditis) is another common and potentially serious symptom of rheumatic fever.
Carditis occurs in an estimated 30-60% of people with rheumatic fever and is more common in younger children.
As a result of the inflammation, the heart has difficulty pumping blood around the body, which can cause the following symptoms:
Carditis can persist for several months, but it should improve over time.
Sydenham's chorea is a term that describes a collection of symptoms related to inflammation of the nerves. These symptoms are:
Around in one in four children with rheumatic fever will develop Sydenham's chorea, but it is rare in adults.
Sydenham's chorea usually passes within a few months, although in some cases it can persist for up totwo years. It shouldn't cause any permanent damage to the nervous system.
Around 1 in 10 children with rheumatic fever will develop a skin rash, known as erythema marginatum. The rash is usually painless, non-itchy and spreads slowly over the child's body. It may only be noticeable in children with fair skin.
The rash usually comes and goes over the course of a few weeks or months, beforedisappearingaltogether.
It's rare for adults with rheumatic fever to develop a skin rash.
Less common symptoms of rheumatic fever include:
Rheumatic fever (RF) is an inflammatory disease that can involve the heart, joints, skin, and brain. The disease typically develops two to four weeks after a streptococcal throat infection.
The symptoms of rheumatic fever usually develop one to five weeks after a streptococcal throat infection, including arthritis, heart inflammation (carditis) and Sydenham chorea, which causes inflammation of the nerves.
The main cause for this disease is the beta-haemolytic Streptococcus of group A, which is found in common infectious sites such as the mouth; in dental granulomas, dental abscesses, paradontosis, and other infections such as chronic tonsillitis.
Rheumatic fever can cause many different symptoms, hence a type of checklist known as the "Jones Criteria" is used to help diagnose it. The major signs and symptoms are: inflammation of the heart (carditis) with symptoms such as shortness of breath and chest pain; pain and swelling (arthritis) affecting multiple joints; jerky involuntary body movements and emotional outbursts ( Sydenham's chorea); a painless, non-itchy skin rash (erythema marginatum); bumps or lumps that develop underneath the skin.
Asrheumatic fever is very rare, you may also be referred to a doctor with experience of treating the condition, so a treatment plan can be drawn up. This may involve visiting a hospital or specialist clinic in the area. Rheumatic fever is treated including using anti-inflammatory medications, antibiotics and plenty of bed rest.
Rheumatic heart disease is a common and potentially serious complication that can occur in cases of rheumatic fever. In rheumatic heart disease, inflammation causes the heart's valves to become damaged and stiffened, disrupting the normal flow of blood through the heart.