My sister recently went to the edge of hell and came back. I mean it! At least, that's what it felt like looking at her go through that pain and suffering. It started with swelling in her left knee and slowly went toward fever, body pains, abdominal cramps and delirium and continued for almost ten days. This condition, which actually started 18 years ago, most probably will recur in the future. Now she is 48 and she already suffered this bout of illness three times. Until now her diagnosis was excessive fluid and infection in the synovial joints and penicillin was her mode of treatment for years. But the root cause was not diagnosed up until now. Her physician was following the prevention method after the fact rather than actual cure. I was so glad when one our cousins, who is a physician himself, visited her at home and suggested her to have blood tests done. Sure enough, the report came positive for rheumatic factor. Cortico steroid treatment along with anti-inflammatory drugs took care of her pain and suffering with two days giving her and us immense relief.
By definition, rheumatic fever implies illness related to abnormalities of synovial joints. The illness comes with the infection of synovial fluids leading to several complications in the body. Synovial fluid is secreted by the membranous lining of the joints and tendon sheath. The joints that secret this fluid are called synovial joints. They are all major joints including knees, shoulders, elbows, etc.
Rheumatic fever or acute rheumatic fever is caused by a simple sore throat which, when overlooked, can lead to strep throat and inflammation. Most of the time, the bacteria that causes the strep throat is treated by antibiotics. But some times it could last long and lead to Group A Streptococcal infection. The bacteria known as strep or streptococcus pyogenes becomes active in the throat and nose after being dormant for months causing infection and then swelling in the major joints. This usually happens one to five weeks after the sore throat. Another reason for rheumatic fever is believed to be heredity factor of the recessive genes.