Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Post 4- Living with Rheumatic Heart Disease

This video of someone with Rheumatic Heart Disease shows that it's possible to live a relatively healthy and normal life, and this was mainly due to being on the correct treatment and taking it regularly!

Post 3- How is it treated?

Having another episode of Rheumatic Fever will worsen your Rheumatic Heart disease. The best way to STOP another episode of  Rheumatic Fever is to have regular PENICILLIN INJECTIONS

This means coming for the injection, and NOT missing appointments. If the injection isn't taken regularly, there are lots of complications which can occur. I have mentioned some of these in a previous post but these include heart failure, valve problems, stroke and infection of the heart itself. 


Tell your dentist you have had rheumatic fever or rheumatic heart disease
as this increases the risk of developing bacterial endocarditis after a dental procedure. If a dentist is aware of this they will give a course of preventive antibiotics. 

You can lead a normal life

But it is important not to add further stress to the heart by smoking or by being overweight. Eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly.

Also don't forget to come for regular check-ups and to not miss taking medication that's been given to you by your doctor. 


Post 2- Symptoms

People who get Rheumatic Heart Disease sometimes end up very sick but it does not always cause symptoms. 

This depends on the severity of  the heart disease and also whether the patient is taking their medication regularly and when they're supposed to. This is particularly important as the medication prevents the rheumatic heart disease from getting worse and prevents the following symptoms: 
  • Chest pain
  • Heart palpitations
  • Breathlessness on exertion
  • Breathing problems when lying down
  • Waking from sleep with the need to sit or stand up
  • Swelling
  • Fainting

You should see your doctor immediately if you experience any of these symptoms.

Post 1- What is Rheumatic Heart disease?

Rheumatic heart disease is permanent damage to the heart following Rheumatic Fever

Rheumatic Heart Disease can lead to heart failure and sometimes the need for cardiac surgery.  A case of rheumatic fever can cause the heart to inflame and leave permanent damage to the heart, specifically the heart valves.

A heart valve acts like a one-way door. It makes sure that blood pumped by the heart flows in one direction. When the heart is damaged, the heart valves are unable to function adequately. The heart has 4 sections, they are like ‘rooms’, also called chambers.  the heart valves are the ‘doors’ that stop the blood from flowing the wrong way.