Rheumatic fever is caused by certain strains of streptococcal bacteria. A strep throat infection that isn't properly treated can trigger rheumatic fever. Rheumatic fever can damage heart muscle and heart valves. Not all people who have rheumatic fever develop rheumatic heart disease.
Which one of the following statements is true?
Each year, heart disease claims the lives of more women then breast cancer and lung cancer combined.
A greater percentage of women die within one year of a heart attack than men.
The death rate of African-American women due to cardiovascular disease is greater than white women.
Diabetes is a risk factor for heart disease.
The answer: All of them. And experts say they represent only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the...
This infection causes swelling and muscle damage to the heart. It can also damage the heart valves in a way that keeps the blood from moving through the heart normally. The infection can cause heart valve leaflets to stick together, which narrows the valve opening. Also, the infection can scar the valves. This keeps the valves from closing tightly, so blood leaks backward in the heart.
Rheumatic fever is rare in Canada, the United States, and western Europe. But it was fairly common until the 1950s. Widespread use of antibiotics to treat strep throat has greatly lowered the number of new cases of rheumatic fever.
Today, most rheumatic fever cases occur in developing countries, particularly Africa and southeast Asia.
Some people may develop a heart valve disease after having rheumatic fever as a child. It might take a few years to 20 years or more after a case of rheumatic fever for a valve problem to develop.
In this article
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
March 12, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this