What Is Rheumatic fever?
Rheumatic Fever is an uncommon disease, but it could be life-threatening if not treated on time. It usually starts with group A streptococcus bacteria causing strep-throat, and as time goes by, it can cause the worst joint and muscle pains, weaken the valves of the heart and may subsequently lead to a heart failure or a temporary nervous disorder called 'Sydenham's Chorea.' The patient then gets shaky with involuntary movements of the body. It usually affects one of the two sides of the body and sometimes to such an extent that one may end up having emotional outbursts as crying or laughing all of a sudden and inappropriately.
What Are The Symptoms Of Rheumatic fever?
Rheumatic Fever can certainly be fatal to one's life if not prevented in time. The faster one reads the symptoms, the better it is. However, thanks to medical science for its findings on this deadly disease and here are some of the most important symptoms of this disease:
- Fever followed by muscle pain is one of the common symptoms.
- Painful and swollen elbows, wrists, knees and ankles is another symptom of Rheumatic Fever
- In Rheumatic Fever, most often the pain in one joint moves on to another joint.
- Chest pain is a real wake up call. Rheumatic Fever weakens the valves of the heart which consequently leads to chest pain.
- A heart murmur is another common symptom of this disease.
- Fatigue or weakness is pretty common as it gets harder for the heart to pump blood to the circulatory system.
- Involuntary body movement of muscles of the hands, feet and face is another symptom.
- Another common symptom found in most of the Rheumatic Fever patients is emotional outbursts such as crying or laughing inappropriately.
- Last but not the least small and painless bumps beneath the skin are important symptoms as well.
What Are The Causes Of Rheumatic fever?
Rheumatic Fever is, in fact, the worst-case scenario of strep throat caused by a bacterium called Group A streptococcus which contains the same protein as in the body's tissues. Eventually, this causes confusion for the immune system and the antibodies attack body's own tissues. It starts with the joints first and finally attacks the heart. At one point, it gets increasingly harder for the heart to pump blood to the circulatory system and this tends to add chest pain as well as make the body weaker.
What Are The Things One Should Do To Manage Rheumatic fever?
Few tips for management of rheumatic fever:
- Keep your mouth covered while sneezing or coughing.
- Keep your hands clean and sanitised all the time and maintain proper hygiene.
- The patient is advised to take proper sleep and bed rest as it helps in reducing swelling in joints.
- Food consumed by the patient should be soft and warm.
- Hot and cold compress: It helps to reduce the inflammation in the joints.
- Keep the patient well hydrated.
What Are The Things One Should Avoid To Manage Rheumatic fever?
- Do not use dirty bathrooms and toilets.
- Do not physically contact or share personal items with people who are sick.
- Do not ignore treatment for the Rheumatic fever or it could lead to Rheumatic heart disease.
What Are The Best Foods For Rheumatic fever?
- Antioxidant nutrients – Antioxidants help in fighting off the bacterium that causes Rheumatic Fever. Include almonds in your daily diet as it helps to strengthen your immune system.
- Walnuts: Walnuts along with boosting immune system helps to lessen symptoms of Rheumatic Fever. Daily intake of 5-6 walnuts is recommended.
- Omega 3 Fatty Acids: Foods such as flax seeds, fish oil, has pain relieving and anti-inflammatory properties which help to speed up the recovery.
- Yoghurt: Helps to produce antibodies and white blood cells in the body this protecting the body against infection. Daily intake is recommended.
- Fruit Juice- Fruit Juice intake can ease the pain caused by Rheumatic Fever.
- Plenty of water – Eight to ten glasses of water can prevent the dehydration of the body to a large extent and can relieve one of joint pain as well.
- Bitter gourd: Extract juice of 1 bitter gourd and mix with honey for taste. It's acrid components provide early relief.
- Fresh fruits and vegetables – Intake of plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables can protect the heart to a massive extent. Eat fruits, carrots, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, alfalfa sprouts, etc.
- Garlic and Onions- Garlic and Onion intake can be pretty effective in reducing serum cholesterol level.
What Are The Worst Foods For Rheumatic fever?
- Avoid alcohol as it affects the medication efficiency.
- Avoid coffee, black tea and chocolate – Caffeine intake can increase stress hormones in the body.
- Do not drink can juice as it is high in sugar.
- Reduce salt intake and salty foods.
- Avoid meat and eggs – Meat and egg intake can lead to inflammation of the arteries.
- Avoid dairy products - Dairy products lead to obesity which in turn can weaken the cardiovascular system and increase the chances of stroke.
- Avoid spicy foods
What Are The Medicines For Rheumatic fever?
What Are The Tips To Manage Rheumatic fever?
The disease is absolutely curable with proper medication. However, it is advisable for a patient not to delay in consulting a doctor once one the symptoms have been figured out. The treatment usually starts with diagnosis as a blood test or ECG test to detect the bacterium and any heart blockage. Most importantly, one must not be frantic about the disease. The treatment might be as long as five years in some cases. It will take a great deal of mental stamina of course and something that can really help the patient in maintaining one’s mental stamina until the treatment is completed is the kind of support one gets from his family and friends. Rheumatic Fever patients have been often seen to have sudden mental breakdown characterised by inappropriate crying or laughing and perhaps, this is when they need to be surrounded by their families and friends the most.