Patient Comments: Rheumatic Fever - Symptoms

Question:

What were the symptoms of your rheumatic fever? Submit Your Comment

Comment from: Hugh, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: May 26

I was diagnosed with rheumatic fever at 8. I went to bed with flu like symptoms. In the morning I could not bear the weight of bedclothes on my legs. I was hospitalized for 2 months and kept off school for another month. On one occasion they thought they detected a heart murmur but never replicated the finding. I was on penicillin every day till age 17. I remained susceptible in younger years to strep like infections but seemed to grow out of it around 13/14. I lived a very active childhood and indeed was more sporty than my siblings. Now I still run a lot and have done 4 marathons and many half marathons. I believe I was lucky that my leg symptoms promoted very prompt treatment meaning I was one of the lucky ones as regards cardiac or other symptoms. I am a few inches shorter than my siblings which I had attributed to the use of steroids at a young age to prevent heart damage.

Comment from: Ann, 75 or over Female (Patient) Published: December 18

I first had rheumatic fever in about 1939/40. At that time there were no antibiotics. I had bed rest for almost a year, followed by tonsils removal. Then a reoccurrence in 1941 resulted in no formal school for me. Fortunately my mother was a former teacher and I was home schooled. I had a low temperature most of my long sessions in bed. Our doctor was a neighbor and would often stop in to check on me. Later, I had a heart specialist about 100 miles away. I had no mummer, or swelling of joints while I was still growing. I was excused from all athletics. At about 30 I contacted rubella, and the swelling of my knees reoccurred for a few weeks. When antibiotics were finally available I was treated before any dental work. In old age I have stage 3 D kidney disease, apnea, and low blood oxygen, and I use a CPAP. So far no heart damage has been detected.

Comment from: Jan, 75 or over Female (Caregiver) Published: November 16

I had rheumatic fever and was hospitalized at age three. I had St. Vitus' dance, and would throw my legs around when walking, and still occasionally have a facial tic. Next attack was at age twelve. I had pains in my legs for weeks before high temperature. I was hospitalized for six weeks, and in a convalescent home for another six. Doctor arranged for me to have an exemption from school, so I did correspondence schooling for a couple of years. At age fourteen I had another attack, all starting with a bad throat and high fever. Doctor told my mother if I lived to be forty I would have lived a good life. The hardest part for me was feeling well after a few weeks, and still having to stay in bed. At seventeen I had another attack, and I was told I could not work, should go on an invalid pension, and should never marry and have children, my heart was not strong enough. I was also told I would need a new valve in my heart probably in my early thirties, and had to stay on antibiotic tablets for the rest of my life. Ignoring this, I found light office work, married at twenty one, and had one baby. At age twenty three, I had my fifth and thankfully last attack. I had one other baby, although I was kept drugged up for some time after each birth to give my heart a rest. I also adopted two children, after the doctor warned me not to tempt providence too much, he felt my heart had had enough stress. Now at age seventy five, I am well enough, just extremely tired, as I have been all my life actually, but still manage to cope, and have survived breast cancer and a hip replacement. I am thankful every day for my blessings, especially my good health.

Comment from: notsofast, 75 or over Female (Patient) Published: May 27

I was born in 1930. As far back as I can remember all I remember is my legs aching. I had joint pain with these terrific leg aches day after day. My legs would ache until they actually felt partially numb and the doctor then never seemed to have a clue what I had or what was causing this. I missed lots of schooling since my legs were hurting so much. I spent my time moving around in the desk trying to find a position to lessen the pain. I was the only sibling that had this problem. I have had the issue of leg aches throughout my life. Then after having surgery, the doctor came in and said he wanted to ask me some questions one of which was if I had a lot of pain growing up. When I said yes, I never want to live my life over with all the pain, and other details, the doctor said I have a heart murmur and other issues and that what I had growing up was rheumatic fever. I still have issues/pain in my legs when I walk.

Comment from: bootscooter, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: February 12

I got rheumatic fever when I was six. I was in the cold waiting for schools to open at noon, and they finally called school off, so I and 32 others left for home. I was frozen when I got home, I became very ill. On Monday I tried to get dressed for school and my mom was helping me, I raised my hands to put on my dress, and the last thing I remember was hitting the floor. I was admitted to the hospital, and mom was told if she had waited eight more hours I would have been DOA (dead on arrival). I had strep throat, pneumonia in both lungs, rheumatic fever, and a temperature of 105 F. I was in the hospital for 5 1/2 months and allowed to go home, but only on bed rest for another month. I was not allowed outside for another year, I have severe joint pain and arthritis, and mitral valve problems and a heart murmur. I am very lucky to be alive.

Comment from: svalentine, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: October 15

I am a 58 year old female, active fitness trainer, and massage therapist. I had 3 car accidents, 2 rear-enders, 1 T-bone, therefore whiplash. I had rheumatic fever at the age of 2. I stopped walking for over a year; but I don't remember what treatment I received. I have been very strong and active, 4ft. 11, 110 lb., but since my last accident my immune system is shot out. I have GERD, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic joint pain in hips, ankles, hands and wrist, neck and shoulders, and knees, otherwise healthy. Happy thoughts getting to the golden years should not hurt.

Comment from: Rk370, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: September 06

I am a 46 year old female. I had rheumatic fever (RF) from age 8 to 10.5. I was told I had to stay quiet, and never get chilled as it would make the RF worse. I had to stay in the hospital for 2 weeks and had to have my blood drawn 4 times a day. I have no idea what they gave me. I just remember a lot of bags on the IV pole. I now have strep again, have had it going on 5 days. I have all of the symptoms. Yet, my primary care physician won't test me for it because it's 'eradicated' in the US. I just know everything hurts and no one will help.

Comment from: theresa, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: November 17

I am taking Sumapen 500 mg once a day for rheumatic fever but I still have joint pain especially on my waistline and it gets worse when I have my monthly period.

Comment from: Strawberryshortcake, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: August 25

I had strep throat repeatedly. I had fever, rash at least once, painful joints, a heart murmur and fatigue. Even after being on 6 pills of penicillin daily, in 7th grade I was removed from physical education for 2 years and was not to 'over-extend' myself in home activities ( I wasn't to ride my bike, but I did when folks were gone). At age 52, I started having pain in one of my lower legs and burning in right arm. Sleep stopped. The burning sensation is now in both arms and legs continually. It's not bad when I first wake up, but by 4 or 5 in the afternoon, I can barely stand. There is also burning in my tongue and lips. Doctor says I have fibromyalgia but I wonder if it is because of rheumatic fever.

Comment from: 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: April 06

I first became ill at age six. If I stood in the sun in summer my nose would pour blood and it took hours of packing to get under control. Soon, to run or have any physical activity, my nose would pour blood. Next I woke in the middle of the night with face stuck to my pillow and would go to sleep in the bathtub. The doctor cauterized my nose and the bleeding stopped but soon I was bedridden for several months with rheumatic fever. I remember constant knee pain for a long period of time.

Subscribe to MedicineNet's General Health Newsletter

By clicking Submit, I agree to the MedicineNet's Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet's subscriptions at any time.