General Practice 2022

Rheum feverática: what é, symptoms, causes and treatment

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Rheum feverática: what é, symptoms, causes and treatment
Rheum feverática: what é, symptoms, causes and treatment

Rheumatic fever is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation of various tissues in the body, resulting in joint pain, skin lumps, heart problems, muscle weakness and involuntary movements.

Rheumatic fever usually occurs after tonsillitis that has not been treated properly and is caused by the bacterium Streptococcus pyogenes. Infection with this bacterium is more common in children and adolescents up to the age of 15, but it can happen to people of any age.

In case of signs and symptoms of pharyngitis and recurrent tonsillitis, it is recommended to consult a doctor so that appropriate treatment can be initiated to prevent the onset of rheumatic fever or other complications of Streptococcus pyogenes infection.

Main symptoms

The main symptom of rheumatic fever is high fever, above 39ÂșC. However, depending on the organs affected by inflammation, it may also appear:

  • Pain and swelling of joints, which may start in one joint and switch to others;
  • Fatigue, muscle weakness and feeling short of breath;
  • Chest pain and cough;
  • Swelling of the legs;
  • Involuntary movements of the arms or legs (chorea);
  • Skin nodules or red spots.

Symptoms of rheumatic fever usually appear between 2 weeks and 6 months after infection with the bacteria, and can last for several months, depending on the correct treatment and immunity of each person. However, if the damage caused to the heart is very serious, the person can be left with sequelae in cardiac functioning.

How to confirm the diagnosis

The diagnosis of rheumatic fever is made by the general practitioner, rheumatologist or pediatrician based on the presence of the main symptoms and physical examination of the patient and the result of some blood tests that demonstrate inflammation, such as ESR and CRP.

In addition, the presence of the antibody against the rheumatic fever bacteria is investigated, which is detected by tests of throat secretions and blood, such as the ASLO test, which is important to confirm the infection by the bacteria and confirm the diagnosis. Understand how the ASLO exam is done.

Possible causes

Rheumatic fever is caused by an infection by the bacterium Streptococcus pyogenes that leads to an activation of the immune system, producing antibodies that, in addition to fighting the infection, can attack and destroy he althy cells in various organs of the body as if they were foreign to the body, which leads to the appearance of symptoms.

Generally, rheumatic fever is more common in people with a family history of this disease and when the infection with the bacterium Streptococcus pyogenes is not treated correctly with the use of antibiotics, as indicated by the pediatrician or general practitioner.

How the treatment is done

Rheumatic fever is curable, and treatment is carried out under the guidance of a pediatrician, rheumatologist or general practitioner, who may indicate the use of antibiotics, such as the intramuscular injection of benzathine benzylpenicillin (Benzetacil). In the case of people who are allergic to penicillin, the doctor may recommend the use of other antibiotics, such as erythromycin or cephalexin, for example.

Depending on the severity of rheumatic fever, the doctor may indicate that Benzetacil intramuscular injections be performed with an interval of 21 days, and may last up to 25 years of the person depending on the degree of cardiac involvement.

Also, for the treatment of symptoms of inflammation in the joints and heart, the doctor may recommend rest and the use of anti-inflammatories, such as naproxen or acetylsalicylic acid, for example.

Prevention of rheumatic fever

The prevention of rheumatic fever is very important to prevent the development of this disease and its sequelae and, therefore, it is important that in the case of pharyngitis or tonsillitis caused by Streptococcus pyogenes, antibiotic treatment is carried out according to the recommendation from the doctor, it is important to complete the treatment, even if there are no more symptoms.

For people who have had at least one episode of rheumatic fever symptoms, it is important to follow treatment with Benzetacil injections to prevent outbreaks from happening and there is a greater risk of complications.

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