Rheumatic Heart Disease: Young Aged are at Higher Risk

Sonali Kapoor

, Health A2Z

Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD) is a cardiovascular disease in which the valves of the heart become disturbed and are damaged. Rheumatic heart disease is caused due to a bacterial infection called Streptococcus. This disease often occurs in children and adolescents. In this article, we are discussing RHD and how it affects young and aged people.

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About Rheumatic Heart DiseaseDescription
DefinitionRheumatic heart disease is a problem of rheumatic fever in which the heart valves get damaged. Rheumatic fever is an inflammatory disease which begins with strep throat
SymptomsChest pain, Heart palpitations, Shortness of breath, Swollen ankles, wrists, and stomach, Excessive fatigue, Thumping sensation in the chest
RiskPoverty, overcrowding, Less Water, Medical Care
TreatmentAnti-inflammatory treatment, Antibiotic


What is Rheumatic Heart Disease?


Rheumatic heart disease is a problem of rheumatic fever in which the heart valves get damaged. Rheumatic fever is an inflammatory disease which usually begins with strep throat. It can merely affect connective tissue throughout the body, especially in the heart, joints, brain, and skin.


What are the Symptoms of Rheumatic Heart Disease?


The symptoms of this heart disease change over the course of time. This usually sets in about some weeks after a strep throat infection. It usually happens as a result of inflammation in the heart, central nervous system, or joints. The symptoms which you might face due to rheumatic heart disease are:


1. Chest pain


2. Heart palpitations


3. Shortness of breath


4. Swollen ankles, wrists, and stomach


5. Excessive fatigue


6. Thumping sensation in the chest


Is Rheumatic Heart Disease Curable?


Rheumatic heart disease can be short-term and long-term heart disorders which begin as a result of acute rheumatic fever. Damage in the heart valves is a common result of rheumatic fever. These damages lead to the defect in the heart. Short term rheumatic fever is a condition in which the connective tissues of the body, the heart, joints, brain, and skin are swollen. It is usually seen in children who are 5 to 15 years old.


On average, 60% of those with rheumatic fever develop heart diseases at a later stage of life. All parts of the heart get damaged due to inflammation. The most affected are generally the mitral valve.


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What is the Risk factor of RHD?


The risk factor of RHD includes poverty, overcrowding and reduced access to medical care. Stopping episodes of recurrent ARF can prevent rheumatic heart disease. Once acute rheumatic fever is diagnosed, stopping further episodes of ARF can halt the progression of the disease.


How to Prevent Rheumatic Heart Disease?


To prevent the Rheumatic Heart Disease from happening, there are some points which you should take care of:


1. Always keep in mind to cover the mouth while sneezing or coughing.


2. Maintain proper hygiene & wash your hands regularly.


3. Maintaining distance from sick people.


How to Treat RHD?


Through Antibiotics


The doctor will prescribe such antibiotic to eliminate remaining strep bacteria. After the full antibiotic treatment, the doctor will begin another course of antibiotics to prevent recurrence of rheumatic fever. Obstructive treatment will likely continue through age 21 or until your child completes a minimum five-year course of treatment, whichever is longer.


People who have heart inflammation during rheumatic fever might be advised to take the preventive antibiotic treatment for 10 years or longer.


Anti-inflammatory Treatment

In this treatment, the doctor will suggest a pain reliever to reduce inflammation, fever, and pain. If symptoms are severe or your child isn’t responding to the anti-inflammatory drugs then the doctor will suggest you to hospitalize your child.




Rheumatic heart disease is very dangerous for health as this can harm your body, especially the heart. In the above article, we have talked about this disease and its symptoms, curability, risk factor and more importantly the treatment. If you ever start to feel any of the above symptoms, immediately consult a doctor. The only way to control this disease is to take proper medications which your doctor would prescribe.


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