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!
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
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.
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
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! :)
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:
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! :)
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
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! :)
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.
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! :)