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Heart Disease

Having Rheumatic Fever I was eleven years old when my oldest sister, Willie, was admitted into the hospital for heart problems. At that age, I didn’t understand what was going on with her, but I knew she was very sick. By the time I reached my fifth-teen birthday, my sister was back in the hospital again. It was then that I understood what was happening to my sister. As a baby, my sister was diagnosed with rheumatic fever. Rheumatic fever is a delayed consequence of an untreated upper respiratory infection with group A streptococci (streptococcal pharyngitis or “strep throat”) (South Dakota Dept of Health). This disease can cause inflammation of the heart and damage to the heart valves (American Heart Association). Inflammation of the heart leads to scarring and deformity, causing the valves to malfunction (Microsoft Encarta). This strain on the heart muscle causes rheumatic heart disease, which can cause death in middle or later life (Microsoft Encarta). Rheumatic Fever is preventable, but if it is not treated early it can cause serious damage to the heart. The symptoms of rheumatic fever, which usually develop within two weeks but may not appear for several months, includes fever, skin rash, swelling of the joints, and involuntary twitching of muscles (Zaret, Moser, and Cohen 260). My sister symptoms were so vague that it was passed off for fatigue and went unrecognized for a while. My mother became more concern when my sister’s fatigue started being accompanied by pain in her joints, shortness of breath, and having a poor appetite. When my sister was taken to the doctor, she was told again that she had rheumatic fever. Recurrence of rheumatic fever is common (Phibbs 152). Once the rheumatic process starts, there is nothing modern medical science can do to alter it (Phibbs 151). The disease is going to run its course and the physician can only watch for signs of cardiac involvement and treat them when possib...

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Heart Disease. (1969, December 31). In DirectEssays.com. Retrieved 03:55, October 23, 2014, from http://www.megaessays.com/viewpaper/89796.html