Rheumatic Fever - Experience

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What is rheumatic fever?

Rheumatic fever (acute rheumatic fever or ARF) is an autoimmune disease that may occur after a group A streptococcal throat infection that causes inflammatory lesions in connective tissue, especially that of the heart, joints, blood vessels, and subcutaneous tissue. The disease has been described since the 1500s, but the association between a throat infection and rheumatic fever symptom development was not described until the 1880s. It was associated with scarlet fever (rash caused by streptococcal exotoxins) in the 1900s. Prior to the broad availability of penicillin, rheumatic fever was a leading cause of death in children and one of the leading causes of acquired heart disease in adults. The disease has many symptoms and can affect different parts of the body, including the heart, joints, skin, and brain. There is no simple diagnostic test for rheumatic fever, so the American Heart Association's modified Jones criteria (first published in 1944 and listed below) are used to assist the physician in making the proper diagnosis.

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Comment from: Gurung, 19-24 Male (Patient) Published: May 22

I was 11-12 when one of my leg begin to pain while walking. So, I was getting injections, later I started having medication tablets. Around the age of 16 I stopped the medication, thinking I was fine about which there was misunderstanding between my parent and the doctor. Two and half years later I got the rheumatic fever again, this time a lot worse. I got pain starting from neck then legs then arms, literally every joint in my body. It was a horrible feeling. I got hospitalized for 2 months. I have problems with my two valves. I go for test once every year. Physically am ok, I am active person I do swimming, go to the gym, play football and basketball. But I try not to overdo it.

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Comment from: Toni, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: June 04

I was diagnosed with rheumatic fever (RF) in 2005, after months of suffering an infection which I was repeatedly told by general physicians, was viral. It wasn"t. My development went right back to that of a newborn baby. I lost the ability to talk, walk, sit or feed myself. I also developed Sydenham"s chorea or St Vitus' dance (uncontrollable muscle movements/spasms) throughout my entire body that I was unaware that I was doing. Being told repeatedly that it was simply a virus and I was fine, I was sent into school and repeatedly sent home until I was bed ridden and eventually hospitalized. I have mitral valve regurgitation and pulmonary valve stenosis as well as lasting joint pain. I am wondering about any lasting effects of RF as I have current health issues which I believe could be attributed to the rheumatic fever infection but I have found no information online or medical texts.

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