Rheumatic Heart Disease

Rheumatic Heart Disease: Overview

Rheumatic heart disease is a complication of rheumatic fever, which in turn results from an untreated strep throat.  Rheumatic fever can damage the heart valves, causing them to fail to close properly or not open enough.  When a valve fails to close properly, it allows blood to leak backwards.  When a valve does not open enough, the heart must pump harder to force blood through the narrowed opening.  When damage to the heart is permanent, the condition is called rheumatic heart disease.

Diagnose your symptoms now!
  • understand what's happening to your body
  • see your health summarized and in detail
  • identify any nutritional deficiencies

Rheumatic fever is an inflammatory disease that can affect many of the body's connective tissues – especially those of the heart, joints, brain or skin.

Incidence

Anyone can get acute rheumatic fever, but it usually occurs in children aged 5 to 15.  The rheumatic heart disease that results can last for life.

Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms vary greatly.  Often the damage to heart valves isn't immediately noticeable.  Eventually, damaged heart valves can cause serious, even disabling, problems.  These problems depend on how bad the damage is and which heart valve is affected.

Depending on the type of defect and the severity of the damage, symptoms may include: breathlessness; fatigue; palpitations; chest pain; fainting attacks.

Treatment and Prevention

The best defense against rheumatic heart disease is to prevent rheumatic fever.  This can usually be accomplished by prompt and adequate treatment of strep throat.  If rheumatic fever develops, continuous antibiotic treatment may be needed to prevent further attacks.

Complications

The most advanced condition is congestive heart failure.  This is a heart disease in which the heart enlarges and can not pump out all of its blood.

On This Page

Rheumatic Heart Disease:

Signs, symptoms & indicators of Rheumatic Heart Disease:

Symptoms - Respiratory

Occasional/regular/frequent sore throats

Rheumatic heart disease is a complication of rheumatic fever, which in turn results from an untreated strep throat.  Rheumatic fever can damage the heart valves, causing them to fail to close properly or not open enough.

Concerned or curious about your health?  Try The Analyst™
Symptom Entry
Symptom Entry
Diagnosis
Diagnosis
Suggestions
Suggestions
LifeMeter
LifeMeter®
Full Explanations
Explanations
Optional Doctor Review
Review (optional)

Recommendations for Rheumatic Heart Disease:

Drug

Antibiotics

People who have already had rheumatic fever are more susceptible to attacks and heart damage.  For this reason they are given continuous monthly or daily antibiotic treatment, perhaps for life.  If their heart has been damaged by rheumatic fever, they are also given a different antibiotic when they undergo dental or surgical procedures.  This helps prevent bacterial endocarditis, a dangerous infection of the heart's lining or valves.

Physical Medicine

Rest

As well as possible drug therapy, treatment may involve avoidance of overexertion.

Surgery/Invasive

Surgery

Surgery to replace the damaged valve may be necessary in some cases.

Vitamins

Not recommended
Vitamin E

Do not start with high doses of vitamin E in chronic rheumatic heart disease.

Report by The Analyst™
Click to see sample report
Health problems rarely occur in isolation or for obvious reasons

Your body is a highly complex, interconnected system.  Instead of guessing at what might be wrong, let us help you discover what is really going on inside your body based on the many clues it is giving.

Our multiple symptom checker provides in-depth health analysis by The Analyst™ with full explanations, recommendations and (optionally) doctors available for case review and answering your specific questions.

KEY

Weak or unproven link: may be a sign or symptom of
Weak or unproven link:
may be a sign or symptom of
May be useful: may help with
May be useful:
may help with
Very useful: is highly recommended for
Very useful:
is highly recommended for
Should be avoided: is NOT recommended for
Should be avoided:
is NOT recommended for