Rheumatic heart disease:
How does rheumatic fever affect the heart?
Rheumatic fever is an inflammatory kind of fever that first affects your throat. It can gradually start affecting the other connective tissues too. These connective tissues that are affected by rheumatic fever include those that join the heart, the various joints in our body, the brain or even the skin. In the heart, the most affected are the valves that bring in blood to the heart and take away blood from the heart to the various parts of the body.
How does rheumatic fever affect the valves?
Rheumatic fever can severely damage the functioning of the valves. In other words, the valves may restrict blood flow through them by either not closing properly or not opening properly. This leads to serious heart valve diseases and can even lead to congestive heart failure where the heart is so enlarged that it cannot pump out any more blood. Another heart valve disease that can occur is where the valve openings to do not close properly resulting in blood flowing backward and building pressure on the heart and lungs. This is called as Valvular insufficiency and can result in malfunctioning of the heart leading to its enlargement and weakening and eventually result in heart failure.
How can rheumatic heart disease be treated?
The best treatment for rheumatic heart disease is to try and prevent rheumatic fever from occurring. Rheumatic fever can be prevented by the right use of antibiotics or penicillin at the very onset of any symptom of rheumatic fever. If someone has already suffered from rheumatic fever, then the best way is to go in for monthly antibiotic medication so that any infection of the heart may be prevented. A doctor's professional advice is the best in such cases.
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