Rheumatic heart disease is permanent damage to the heart following rheumatic fever. It can lead to heart failure and sometimes the need for cardiac surgery. Rheumatic heart disease is the most common form of heart disease in children in the world.
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.
People who get rheumatic heart disease sometimes end up very sick because the blood stops flowing the right way, making them tired and short of breath. They may not be able to do the things they used to like hunting, playing sports, or even walking or going fishing. Rheumatic heart disease does not always cause symptoms. When it does, symptoms may include:
People with rheumatic heart disease have to take heart medicine, or go to hospital for a very long time. People can also die from rheumatic heart disease if they do not get the proper treatment.