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Rheumatic Fever

Rheumatic fever is an inflammatory disease caused by streptococcus bacteria. Typically rheumatic fever tends to affect children in the age group 6 - 15 years. Often rheumatic fever tends to follow a strep throat or scarlet fever or any other streptococcus infection. Rheumatic fever is characterized by symptoms such as fever and skin rash. The joints tend to get swollen and painful. Rheumatic fever damages the heart valves and can lead to severe disabling problems. Persons who have suffered a case of rheumatic fever have a tendency to develop flare-ups with repeated strep infections. The patient may experience chest pain, fatigue and shortness of breath. The patient suffers heart inflammation accompanied by weakness or chest pain. There may be involuntary jerky movements of hands and legs. Rheumatic fever can lead to Sydenham's chorea - a temporary nervous system disorder.


Blood counts, ESR and ECG help in diagnosing rheumatic fever. A physician will check joints for pain and inflammation and listen for any abnormal rhythms in your heart. It is essential that persons suffering from strep infection treat it without delay lest it manifest into rheumatic fever. Any nodules over swollen joints and red rashes on the chest, back and abdomen must not be ignored. Treatment for rheumatic fever involves reduction of inflammation and antibiotics such as penicillin, sulfadiazine or erythromycin. Persons suffering from rheumatic fever can suffer heart damage and attacks. Treatment for rheumatic fever usually includes anti-infective agents and anti-inflammatory agents. Sometimes cardiac medications are also prescribed for patients suffering from rheumatic fever.

Stenosis

Unusual narrowing of the blood vessels or other tubular structures or organs is referred to as stenosis. In simple words stenosis means narrowing of the various body parts. The common causes for stenosis include birth defects, inflammation, neoplasm (abnormal proliferation of cells), ischemia (reduction of blood supply thus damaging tissues), infection, iatrogenic (complications arising from any treatment) and atherosclerosis.


Spinal stenosis: Specific causes include rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, aging, spinal injury or tumor and spondylosis. Symptoms include pain and weakness in the legs along with cramps, imbalance and loss of control over bladder and bowel movements.


Mitral valve stenosis: Specific causes include endocarditis, atrial myoxma, rheumatic fever and Lutembacher syndrome. Symptoms of mitral valve stenosis are fatigue, recurrent respiratory infections and swelling in the feet.


Aortic valve stenosis: This type of Stenosis may be caused by rheumatic fever, Williams syndrome, LDL receptor deficiency and senile or bicuspid aortic valves. The typical symptoms of aortic valve stenosis are chest pain and heart murmur, fatigue and shortness of breath and heart palpitations.


Pulmonary valve stenosis: Specific causes include deformity during fetal development, rheumatic fever and endocarditis. This type of stenosis has symptoms of cough and fatigue, fluid retention and shortness of breath.


Treatment differs according to the type of stenosis. While physical therapy, drugs like analgesics and lumbar brace are used to manage spinal stenosis, aortic valve stenosis and pulmonary valve stenosis are treated with valve replacement surgery.


Obsessive compulsive disorder

The exact cause of obsessive compulsive behavior is yet to be established. On the basis of some studies and research carried so far, possible causes include any one or a combination of two.


Genetics (family history): Multiple genes passed on through generations are likely to affect the sufferer whose close relative is diagnosed with OCD as well. The genetic connection proves to be higher if the onset of OCD is before age 14. Identical twins have a 70% chance of sharing the disorder.

Illness: If the person is suffering from other anxiety disorder like depression, , substance abuse disorder, a personality disorder, attention deficit disorder, he or she is most likely to experience a high level of anxiety. Certain auto immune diseases such as Sydenham's chorea, rheumatic fever, pediatric streptococcal infection may also cause obsessive compulsive disorder.

Serotonin Hypothesis: People diagnosed with OCD are believed to have abnormally low levels of brain chemical, the serotonin which helps carry messages from one nerve cell to another. This imbalance may interfere with the normal biological processes including mood, sleep, appetite, impulse control, aggression and pain.

Structural brain differences: Abnormalities in several parts of the brains including the thalamus, caudate nucleus, orbital cortex and cingulated gyrus may also be a cause for OCD.


OCD traits

The disorder is clearly visible right from early childhood. Check for one or more of the following traits which are generally associated with time, dirt, relationship and money. Unless and until the individual has trouble leading a normal life due to any or all of these traits, it is not diagnosed as a disorder.


  • Keeping home perfectly organized.

  • Extreme attention to details, rules, lists, orderliness even if it results in waste of time and doesn't result in completion of proposed activity.

  • Exhibiting over perfectionism which interferes with task completion.

  • Is a workaholic, overly devoted to work and productivity.

  • Unwilling to delegate work as

  • Highly rigid and stubborn.

  • Leading a miserly spending style, self and others. Hoards money fearing future catastrophes.

Treating OCD

If left unattended, OCD can have devastating effects both in personal life and at the workplace. Normal life can be completely marred. Most importantly, individuals with OCD are close to acknowledging the need for help as compared to those affected with OCPD who do not conceive it as a problem, hence do not seek help until or unless someone forces the issue.

Antidepressant medications and behavior therapy are effectively used in treating OCD. Medication other than certain antidepressants is rarely prescribed. Instead individual psychotherapy or counseling helps treat OCPD. With family support and an empathetic attitude by those in contact, improvement is evident within few weeks of professional assistance.

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Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: October 18, 2017