Rheumatic heart disease arises from rheumatic fever. A rheumatic heart has damaged valves due to a complication from the fever which affects connective tissues all over the body. Rheumatic heart disease is very rare and the fever usually affects children between the ages of 5 and 15, although it can happen to a person of any age. Primary rheumatic heart disease causes are repeated attacks of acute rheumatic fever that develops from strep throat and makes lasting damage to the valves of the heart. It leads to painful arthritis and disrupts the flow of blood to and from the heart. A rheumatic heart is highly inflamed and makes one prone to heart failure, seizures and strokes. A rheumatologist or cardiologist can study the causes and symptoms of rheumatic heart disease and diagnose the condition accordingly. Although medications and lifestyle measures are advised, if the valve is beyond repair, it needs to be replaced with an artificial valve to restore proper heart functioning. Without treatment, rheumatic heart disease can lead to premature death in those affected.
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