Rheumatic heart disease

Rheumatic heart disease is caused by injuries to the heart valves and myocardium due to inflammation and scar deformation caused by rheumatic fever, a condition that in turn is caused by streptococci and usually manifests as laryngotracheobronchitis or tonsillitis ( Angina) in children . The rheumatic fever mainly affects children in developing countries, especially where poverty is widespread. Worldwide, almost 2% of deaths from cardiovascular disease are related to rheumatic heart disease, while 42% are linked to ischemic heart disease and 34% to cerebrovascular disease.

Symptoms of Rheumatic Heart Disease

  • The symptoms of rheumatic heart disease consist of shortness of breath, fatigue, irregular heartbeat, chest pain, and fainting.
  • The symptoms of rheumatic fever consist of fever, joint pain and swelling, abdominal cramps, and vomiting.

Treatment of rheumatic heart disease

  • 1 Treatment of group A streptococcal infection.
  • 2 Relief of clinical symptoms.
  • 3 Treatment of heart failure, if it occurs and other supportive measures.
  • 4 Rapid treatment of strep throat can prevent the onset of rheumatic fever. Long-term, regular penicillin treatment can prevent repeated attacks of rheumatic fever causing rheumatic heart disease and stop the progression of the disease in patients whose heart valves have already been damaged.

Frequent symptoms

  • The underlying disease of the blood vessels does not usually present symptoms, and its first manifestation can be a heart attack or a CVA (cerebrovascular accident).
  • Heart attack symptoms consist of pain or discomfort in the chest, arms, left shoulder, jaw, or back. In addition there may be difficulty breathing, nausea or vomiting, dizziness or fainting, cold sweats, and paleness.
  • Difficulty breathing, nausea and vomiting, and pain in the jaw or back are more common in women.
  • The most common symptom of stroke (cerebrovascular accident) is sudden, generally unilateral, loss of muscle strength in the arms, legs, or face. Other symptoms include the sudden onset, usually unilateral, of numbness in the face, legs, or arms; confusion, difficulty speaking or understanding what is said; visual problems in one or both eyes; difficulty walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination; severe headache of unknown cause, and weakness or loss of consciousness.
  • Those suffering from these symptoms should see a doctor immediately.

Main risk factors

  • The causes of CVD (cardiovascular disease) are well defined and well known. The most important causes of heart disease and stroke (cerebrovascular accidents) are the so-called “modifiable risk factors”: unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and tobacco use.
  • The effects of unhealthy diet and physical inactivity can manifest as “intermediate risk factors”: increased blood pressure and sugar and blood lipids, overweight and obesity.
  • The main modifiable risk factors are responsible for approximately 80% of cases of coronary heart disease and cerebrovascular disease.
  • There are also a number of underlying determinants of chronic disease, that is, “the causes of the causes,” which are a reflection of the main forces driving social, economic, and cultural change: globalization, urbanization, and the aging of the population. Other determinants of CVD (cardiovascular disease) are poverty and stress.


  • Group A beta-hemolytic streptococcus

Complementary Exams

  • Pharyngeal exudate.
  • ECG
  • Protein electrophoresis.
  • Echocardiogram radiologies

How to reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease

  • At least 80% of premature deaths from heart disease and stroke could be avoided with a healthy diet, regular physical activity, and smoking cessation.
  • It is possible to reduce the risk of CVD by doing physical activities regularly; avoiding active or passive inhalation of tobacco smoke; consuming a diet rich in fruits and vegetables; avoiding foods with a lot of fats, sugars and salt, and maintaining a healthy body weight.
  • The way to prevent and control CVD is through global and integrated action:
  • 1A global action requires the combination of measures that try to reduce risks in the entire population and strategies aimed at individuals at high risk or already suffering from the disease.
  • 2As examples of population interventions that reduce CVDs, we can cite global tobacco control policies, taxes to reduce the intake of foods rich in fats, sugars and salt, the creation of paths for pedestrians and bicycles in order to promote physical activity, and the provision of healthy meals in school canteens.
  • Integrated strategies focus on the main risk factors common to various chronic diseases such as CVD, diabetes, and cancer: unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, and tobacco use.
  • There are cheap and effective medicines to treat practically all CVDs.


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