View Full Version : Concerned

05-08-2007, 02:45 PM

Approximately three days ago, I began to experience excruciating chest pain in the centre of my chest and to the left, behind my breast. The pain worsens at night and when I lie down. Last night, I could not lie down at all because the pain was TERRIBLE, so I didn't sleep at all and woke my mother (I am sixteen years old) up at 04:00 a.m. because I was so desperate. She made me some warm herbal tea. The pain is relieved when I lean forward. I also have a dry, non-productice cough. I am also experiencing mild shortness of breath. I do have Asthma, but somehow, these problems don't feel like Asthma. My chest also hurts just under the ribcage.

Yesterday, my wrists started to pain like crazy and began to swell a bit, so I took an anti-inflammatory. I also developed a fever yesterday and had a seizure at school. I have been taking Tylenol for the fever.

I am also experiencing bad headaches and migraines, although I get these often, so they may not be related. I also have abdominal pain and am experiencing nosebleeds, which is unusual for me. :?

I am not generally clumsy or shaky at all, although I do sometimes experience tremours, but now I keep dropping things and my hands seem unsteady and "jerky".

Okay, I'm concerned because there is a strong family history of Rheumatic Fever in my family. Also, I have had terrible sore throats for the last few months, but ignored most of them as being "viral", so I didn't go to the doctor. My father had Rheumatic Fever as a child and developed terrible heart damage from it. He has Mitral Valve Stenosis and Regurgitation (i.e. the heart doesn't pump effectively and "leaks") and his heart has enlarged itself (Cardiomegaly) to compensate. He also developed a Bradycardia and First-Degree Heart Block. My grandmother also had Rheumatic Fever as a child and was EXTREMELY ill. She was in hospital for three months (and she was only seven years old!) with severe Arthritis, etc. Luckily, she did not develop lasting heart damage. A few of my aunts, uncles, great-aunts and great-uncles have also had Rheumatic Fever.

My question is, does anyone here think that this might be Rheumatic Fever? Marycain?

Thanks and keep well!

05-08-2007, 04:37 PM
I don't know about South Africa, but rheumatic fever is very rare in the United States since antibiotics are so widely prescribed now. It's been years since I heard of a child developing it, and it is unusual for someone over age 15 to develop it. But with the underlying immune problems you have, any unusual symptoms are a reason to be concerned. Do you have a rash anywhere - red or pink, probably on your upper arms or chest? Rheumatic fever often presents with a rash, or with painful nodules under the skin. The chest pain you are having sounds a lot like pericarditis - which would be consistent with both rheumatic fever or a flare of your autoimmune disease. But if you have a rash or nodules, then RF would be a concern.

The problem is that rheumatic fever can cause many lupus-like symptoms, and there is no specific diagnostic test. So, like lupus, it is diagnosed through specfic criteria - both major and minor.

The major diagnostic criteria include:

Carditis (heart inflammation)

Polyarthritis (many joints involved)

Subcutaneous skin nodules

Chorea (Sydenham's chorea - emotional instability, muscular weakness and rapid, uncoordinated jerky movements affecting primarily the face, feet and hands)

Erythema marginatum - skin rash: skin eruption on the trunk and upper part of arms or legs: eruptions that are ring-shaped or snake-like in appearance

Skin nodules

The minor criteria include fever, arthralgia (joint pain), elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate, and other laboratory findings.

Two major criteria, or one major and two minor criteria, when there is also evidence of a previous strep infection (positive culture or rising antibody level -- ASO or antiDNAse B) support the diagnosis of rheumatic fever/

Treatment is usually antiinflammatories (aspirin and steroids) and antibiotics if there is a current infection. Since RF can cause permanent damage to heart valves, it's important that it be diagnosed and treated early. And even if it is not RF, your chest pain symptoms sound like possible pericarditis, which needs to be evaluated asap.

05-09-2007, 04:03 AM
I love History,

I am sorry to hear about your troubles. I don't know much about RF, like Marycain said doesn't happen much at all here in the states. I had several of the symptoms that you described, especially the chest pain, and I saw a myriad of specialists and the drs told me I have pericarditis, it is definitely something worth looking into, because that is something that need to be evaluated and treated ASAP. You are in my prayers! Keep us posted on how everything turns out! Ruth

05-09-2007, 09:15 AM
Hi Marycain and Ruth1980!

Thanks very much for your replies! :)

I went to see my Paediatrician/Paediatric Cardiologist today and I found out that I have Pleuritis/Pleurisy and Costochondritis! :( Oh well, at least I don't have Pericarditis or Rheumatic Fever, I suppose! I had an extremely high fever last night and was so ill that my mother was up with me until 06:00 a.m.! :shock: My Paed./Paed. Card. said that I must call him if my chest or cough gets any worse. He is concerned because when I had Bronchitis and Whooping Cough a few months ago, my chest was VERY bad and he is worried that I am getting Bonchitis again.

My Paed./Paed. Card. says that the Costochondritis is almost like "growing pains" for me. I have bad Scheuermann's Disease/Scheuermann's Kyphosis, which is causing serious problems for me. In under a month, I have grown 1.5cm taller! :shock: I am already very tall and every time I grow taller, my gigantic spleen gets bigger! :( :x My Paed./Paed. Card. cannot believe how quickly I am growing! Gees! My dad says that I'll never get a boyfriend because I am so tall! :lol:

Surprisingly, Rheumatic Fever is not at all rare in South Africa. While it's certainly not common, it's certainly not very rare either. In fact, a sixteen year old girl in the grade below me has had Rheumatic Fever twice; she's just come down with it again and she has terrible heart damage. Chickenpox, Rubella (German Measles) and Measles are going around too! :x Luckily, I have already had Chickenpox and have also been vaccinated against it. I am immune to Rubella because I was vaccinated against it when I was small and then again when I was twelve and they tested the Rubella Immunity. However, I do have a question. How effective is the M.M.R. Vaccine against Measles?

I am absolutely convinced that there is a very strange virus going around my grade. The conditions a few of the people in my grade have/have had are: Autoimmune Thyroid Disease; Autoimmune Herpes; Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (I mean, this is rare! :shock:); Rubella; Chickenpox; Glandular Fever (five people have this chronically - E.B.V.) - I think that you call this Mononucleosis in the U.S.A.; Epilepsy (two of us); Asthma (quite a few of us!); Strep. Throat (this is INCREDIBLY common); Tonsillitis; Pneumonia; Pleurisy (two of us now); Bronchitis; Dysentery (okay, well that was only me); severe Gastro., which never stops circulating; the list is endless! Plus, one of my friends developed the strangest neurological problems just after I began having seizures in September 2006. Her Neurologist has NO CLUE what it is! She had an E.E.G., a Sleep Study E.E.G., an M.R.I. and a P.E.T. Scan, which all came out clear. :? :shock:

Does anyone have any advice on how to take care of oneself when one has Pleuritis/Pleurisy?

Thanks very much and keep well! :)

05-09-2007, 01:12 PM
hi there, im glad you found out what was goin on. i too have pleurisy/pleuritis along with pericarditis, and it can be just fine history.

i do have to be careful aruond household cleaning chemicals though , so i use naural cleaning tools and hepa filters for vaccum. perfumes get me to coughing sometimes too. also, when im haveing a 'general' sle flare, it gets worse. its just like you say, cant lay down, pain to breathe deeply, and the cough. its been about 2 years since i've beenable to take one of those deep breathes you do when you first wake up in the morning and take that biiiig stretch, you know what i mean? also, i get sharp pains regularly while doing things throughout the day. little pains here and there in the chest/ribcage/underarm area are usually pleurisy.

anyway, i think the pericarditis runs along with my pleurisy. my docs say its all lupus inflammation related. it always gets better or goes away when my prednisone dose is increased.

hope ths helps :wink:

05-09-2007, 01:33 PM
Hi Angela!

Thanks very much for your reply! :) I'm sorry that you suffer with both Pleurisy and Pericarditis; I can't imagine how painful that must be! :(

Keep well! :)

05-09-2007, 01:47 PM
I've had Pleurisy twice and my doctor just perscribed an anti-inflamatory like Motrin and rest. When I ready your first post that was my first thought. It can be so painful, and especially when laying down.

I'm sorry you're in so much pain. You'll be in my thoughts

05-09-2007, 03:36 PM
Hi Kokopelli!

Thank you so much for your response and for thinking of me! :) My Paed./Paed. Card. has prescribed some anti-inflammatories for me, but he said that if my cough or shortness of breath got worse and I developed Bronchitis, then he would prescribe something else for me; probably an antibiotic and some Prednisone for a few days.

Keep well! :)

05-11-2007, 05:18 AM
I'm sorry to hear you've got another symptom to add to your problems, Ilovehistory. You seem to have pretty alert doctors who uncover the reasons for your symptoms, and that's a good thing.

I've had similar issues ever since I first got sick. Started with pericarditis, but I've had symptoms similar to pleurisy and pleuritis or bronchitis several times as well. Frequently have chest pain (mostly minor) when I exert, and a dry cough. Comes and goes. Unless it gets really bad and is accompanied by a fever, I don't call my doc. Just learned to cope I guess. Sounds like you've had a pretty rough time of it, though.

Odd that so many in your class have had such a litany of unusual illnesses. You have to wonder about environmental influences there. Chemicals or something. Hmmmm.


05-11-2007, 12:38 PM
Hi Mnjodette!

Thank you SO much for your support! :) I really appreciate it! :)

Yes, my Paed./Paed. Card. is absolutely BRILLIANT! :D He is SO nice to me and always understands and is supportive. One time, he phoned my mom because he was worried about my Asthma and wanted to know how the medication he was giving me was working. He's wonderful and is always very calm, smiling and laughing. :) The best thing, though, is that he's honest. If he doesn't know, he admits it and immediately refers me to a specialist, which I truly admire.

How is the Colchicine working?

Keep well! :)

05-11-2007, 06:44 PM
Thanks for asking, Ilovehistory! Colchicine seems to be working - no pericarditis since I started taking it, so that's a really good thing. As I said, I continue to have some pleurisy-like issues, and occasional chest pain related to that, but it's not usually serious. Did set me back a bit recently when I had to up my prednisone again. But, I'm still hopeful I'll be able to reduce the prednisone soon. Still on imuran, too, so maybe that's the magic 'cocktail' for me! I'll be on the colchicine for 6 months, I guess. We'll see what happens then! Take good care.....


05-11-2007, 08:12 PM
Hi Mnjodette!

I'm SO glad to hear it! :D I sincerely hope that the Pleurisy goes away soon, never to return! It is really painful, I must admit, but the worst part is when I cough. That's unbearable! :x My cough has got worse now and I can't sleep because of it, which is why I'm up - it's 05:04 a.m. here! My cough has become productive and now I'm wheezing and more short of breath. I think I've got Bronchitis again... Great! :roll: Of course, this does nothing for the Pleurisy pain! :x

Keep well! :)

05-13-2007, 04:20 AM
Don't you have asthma, too, Ilovehistory? That can't be good combined with pleurisy or bronchitis. Do take care - respiratory problems can just hang on and on sometimes, and really wear you out. I'll be praying for you.


05-15-2007, 01:03 AM
Hi Mnjodette!

Thanks very much! :) I really appreciate it!

Yes, I do have Asthma. :(

Guess what? Yesterday, while I was at school, I had one of the worst coughing fits of my entire life, which lasted for TWO HOURS without stopping! Previously, I had been extremely short of breath and got a severe headache and pain in the back of my neck; then, I had a seizure. To be honest, I don't think that my brain was getting enough oxygen. I had spent half the day fainting from shortness of breath and the school nearly called an ambulance, but I begged them not to. So, the school receptionist phoned my father, who came to fetch me. I went to see my Paed./Paed. Card. who was horrified at the condition of my chest. He prescribed some antibiotics, some Prednisone and some more Combivent for my Nebuliser. We think that the Bronchitis has turned into Pneumonia now. :( This is probably because the school receptionist made me sit in a DRAFT! :mad: and I was too sick and short of breath to complain. It is BITTERLY cold here and my Paed./Paed. Card. has forbidden me from leaving the house. I did not want to go to hospital (I am SICK of hospital!), but promised that if my chest got any worse, I would go. I have NEVER had a chest as bad as it is now. I have been awake since 03:00 a.m. because I couldn't breathe and sleeping propped up on four pillows was not as helpful as I had hoped. My coughs are wracking my chest to pieces and with every breath my entire ribcage moves. :cry:

Plus, I now have Conjunctivitis in both eyes (yes, AGAIN!) :mad:, diarrhea and a sore throat! :mad: Could this possibly get any worse? Wait, please don't answer that! :(

I am using my Nebuliser, my Asthma pump, my Cortisone inhaler, taking my meds, inhaling over boiling water with Friar's Balsam and coughing into a pillow (thanks to Marycain's suggestion! :)) Does anyone have any other advice on what I can do?

One of my friends has now developed Pleurisy too and two other people in my grade already have Pneumonia, both of which are in my Mathematics class. :(

Thanks and keep well! :)

05-15-2007, 04:57 PM
Oh my goodness! That's more than anyone should have to deal with - much less deal with it all at once. Again, I'll keep you in my prayers. I still wonder about all of the illnesses in your classmates - seems to be a pattern here. Hope someone is paying attention. Please keep us posted, and DO feel better soon. We're all here for you, as always.


05-16-2007, 11:03 AM
If the cough is dry and hacking, then your doctor may need to give you some codeine-based medicine to suppress it. Coughing that hard can be dangerous - I collapsed a lung during a terriible coughing spell like that. If your cough is productive (you are bringing up mucus), the a cough suppressant is not a good idea because it keeps the "gook" in your lungs and prolongs the infection. A prescription medication called Tessalon can also help with severe coughing.

Drinking soup and hot liquids or eating spicy foods may help break up some of the congestion in your chest.

Take care of yourself and let us know how you are doing.

05-16-2007, 07:51 PM
The censor used on this website is sometimes pretty darn funny. Your last post, Marycain, explains that a cough suppressant might keep "a Person of Asian descent" in your lungs!? (Somehow I don't think that's what you meant! :lol: :lol: ) What is it you were really trying to say?

05-16-2007, 08:26 PM

:lol: "Person of Asian descent?!" Somehow, I don't think that this is connected to lung problems! :lol:

Thanks very much for your replies, Mnjodette and Marycain! :)

My cough is productive (little bits of VERY thick yellow mucus with specks of blood), so I don't want to take a cough suppressant. I have been drinking herbal tea to try and help the congestion. Thanks, Marycain. :)

My chest is making horrible wheezing sounds; rhonchi, I suppose?

Regarding what I said earlier about 'can this possibly get any worse?', well, it did. :( Yesterday (Wednesday) morning, I ate an apple for breakfast. Approximately half-an-hour later, I vommitted the entire thing up, seeds and all (sorry for the grapics! :oops:). I have NEVER felt so nauseous in my entire life! I was too nauseous to even drink a sip of plain water! :shock:

My muscles are aching and I keep getting horrible headaches. :(

Did I mention that I have also had my period throughout all of this? :mad: Plus, I am bleeding more heavily than usual and for longer than normal? :? Everytime I blow my nose, little specks of blood come out with the mucus (I have had this before)? :? Does anyone know what this is/why this happens?

I get so tired, but I can't sleep properly because of my annoying chest! :x :cry:

Thanks, everyone and keep well! :)

05-17-2007, 03:59 AM
I was trying to use the term g - o - o - k to describe the nasty stuff that gets in the lungs occasionally, but apparently the censor doesn't allow for context and thought it was an ethnic slur. :(

05-17-2007, 04:03 AM
ILoveHistory, do you have endometriosis? Because that can cause the nosebleeds during menstrual periods - I have them fron my teenage years on. And if you have allergies, or your nose is irritated from blowing a lot, that could cause the nosebleeds too.

Sorry you are having such a rough time right now and hope you feel better soon.

05-17-2007, 04:35 PM
Hi Marycain!

Yes, my Gynaecologist is almost convinced that I have Endometriosis, but it has not been verified via Laparoscopy and my Gynae. says that she won't go glibly into the abdomen of a sixteen year old girl (thank goodness!), so we are just treating it symptom wise with Yasmin (also for an endocrine problem) and lots of Synflex when I menstruate.

Yes, I have severe allergies; I am on Zyrtec (since age six) and Nasonex at the moment. That's certainly possible.

Guess what?! Now, I have Chickenpox! :x We know what it is because I had Chickenpox when I was seven years old and I gave it to my mother. Also, it is going around and for some odd reason, a very large amount of people have recently become infected. :? I have been in contact with people who are now infected with the virus, as well.

Keep well! :)

05-17-2007, 07:55 PM
Oh no...Chickenpox?! I'm so sorry...you sure didn't need that. I hope the symptoms pass quickly.


05-17-2007, 10:00 PM
Hi Mnjodette!

Thanks very much! :)

The Chickenpox is mild because I've had it before, thank goodness! However, the rash is SO itchy! :x I am putting corn flour on it to help with the itching.

Keep well! :)

05-30-2007, 03:16 PM
Hi Everyone!

I started writing examinations at school on Monday and after being in contact with my classmates for a few hours, I got sick again and had one of the worst sore throats of my entire life! :mad: So, on Tuesday I went to see my G.P. and now I apparently have Respiratory Syncytial Virus (R.S.V.). Great! :x My chest had just managed to heal and now I am coughing again! :mad: :mad: :mad: I am surprised my lungs haven't collapsed yet! :(


Keep well, everyone! :)