4849 Van Nuys Blvd , Suite 104, Sherman Oaks CA 91403

Rheumatic Fever Treatment in Sherman Oaks, CA

Rheumatic Fever Treatment in Sherman Oaks, CA

Rheumatic fever is a relatively serious inflammatory disease which can result due to complications from strep throat or scarlet fever. Most common in children between the ages of 5 and 15, rheumatic fever is rare in the United States. It is more frequently reported in developing nations around the world where overpopulation and issues with sanitation cause excessive or repeat exposure to bacteria that cause the illness.

With the potential to cause irreversible damage to the heart, and the increased likelihood of experiencing a stroke or death, it is important to seek medical attention for both rheumatic fever and for strep throat or scarlet fever (to prevent rheumatic fever's development).

To schedule a consultation with a qualified healthcare provider in Sherman Oaks that specializes in rheumatic fever treatment, call (424) 278-4325 or contact Dr. Jeremy Fischer online.

Rheumatic Fever Causes

Rheumatic fever is caused by a bacterium called group A streptococcus, the same bacterium responsible for strep throat and scarlet fever. The link between strep throat and rheumatic fever is not fully understood. The common thought is that the bacterium influences the immune system to produce antibodies to fight off the group A streptococcus infection; however, instead of attacking the infection, the antibodies instead attack the body's own tissue and cause inflammation. This attack often begins in the joints and can move to the heart—where it can cause permanent damage to the heart valves—as well as the skin and central nervous system.

The likelihood of developing rheumatic fever appears to be linked to various risk factors such as a family history of rheumatic fever, the strain of strep bacteria responsible for the infection and a weakened immune system prior to contracting strep throat.

Rheumatic Fever Symptoms

Typically developing 2-4 weeks after a strep throat infection, rheumatic fever symptoms can vary but may last anywhere from several months to years. If you have rheumatic fever you may experience very few symptoms, or experience most of the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Chest pain
  • Small, painless nodules under the skin
  • Fatigue
  • Painful and sore joints (particularly the elbows, wrists, knees and ankles)
  • Red, hot, swollen joints
  • Flat, slightly raised rash
  • Jerky, uncontrollable movements (particularly in the hands, face and feet)
  • Unusual behavior like sudden outbursts of crying or laughter

Due to the dangers of rheumatic fever, children or adults who experience any of the above-mentioned symptoms, or anyone who experiences strep throat symptoms, should receive immediate guidance from a healthcare professional to avoid complications.

Treatment of Rheumatic Fever

There is no single test which can be used to diagnose rheumatic fever. If you or your child are presenting with rheumatic fever symptoms, your healthcare provider will conduct a physical examination, review your medical history and reported symptoms, and may elect to conduct various tests including a blood test, electrocardiogram (EKG) or echocardiogram.

Rheumatic fever treatment will first focus on eliminating the group A streptococcus bacteria through the use of penicillin or other antibiotic. You or your child may need an extended course of antibiotics to help prevent the recurrence of rheumatic fever. Aspirin, ibuprofen or naproxen may be recommended to reduce fever, joint pain and inflammation. In severe cases, or if other anti-inflammatory medication fails to improve symptoms, a corticosteroid may be recommended. Anticonvulsant medication may be necessary to help treat involuntary movement.

Rheumatic Fever Long Term Effects

Most of the long-term effects of rheumatic fever are cardiovascular in nature and may not begin until years after the illness. These include:

  • Rheumatic heart disease
  • Valve regurgitation (backflow of blood to the heart due to a leak)
  • Valve stenosis (narrowing of the heart valve that can slow blood flow)
  • Atrial fibrillation (irregular heart beat which could lead to stroke)
  • Damage to the heart muscle (causing the heart to improperly pump blood)
  • Heart failure

Regular heart exams are important throughout the life of a person who has had rheumatic fever to ensure no complications have developed, and, if they have, proper treatment is administered. Antibiotics may be necessary for certain life events such as having dental work completed, to avoid the reintroduction of bacteria to the body.

Rheumatic Fever Prevention

The best way to ensure you or your child do not develop rheumatic fever is to quickly treat a strep throat infection through antibiotic therapy to eradicate the group A streptococcus bacteria.

If you or your child experience a sore throat, fever, headache or abdominal pain, seek the treatment of a healthcare provider; in doing so, you can help ensure your health and wellbeing in the long run.

To schedule a consultation with a qualified healthcare provider in Sherman Oaks that specializes in rheumatic fever treatment, call (424) 278-4325 or contact Dr. Jeremy Fischer online.

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Vitality Integrative Medicine
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Address

4849 Van Nuys Blvd
Suite 104
Sherman Oaks, CA 91403
(424) 278-4325
www.vitalityintegrative.com

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Mon: 09:00AM - 05:00PM
Tue: 09:00AM - 05:00PM
Wed: 09:00AM - 05:00PM
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Fri: 09:00AM - 05:00PM

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