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How Rheumatic Heart Disease Leads to Heart Failure

Rheumatic heart disease occurs when heart valves are damaged by rheumatic fever. This damage is permanent, and it can occur without warning in individuals that have been affected by a streptococcal infection, such as strep throat or scarlet fever, and have left their condition untreated. Your body will deploy an immune response designed to eliminate the infection, but the resulting inflammation can lead to continuous valve damage in the heart. 


A medical professional specializing in interventional cardiology in Tampa can diagnose or treat those suffering from rheumatic heart disease. Lifestyle and diet changes, medication, or surgery may be the best option depending on the severity of your condition. You shouldn’t have to contend with this rheumatic heart disease on your own, consult Jesal V. Popat, M.D., FACC, the best cardiologist in Tampa, for the individualized treatment you deserve. Dr. Popat is a self-proclaimed “anti-pill” physician who works tirelessly to give his patients access to treatments that minimize complications and discomfort while catalyzing their overall wellness.

Inflammation: the Root of the Problem

When an individual is suffering from rheumatic fever, it can take a devastating toll on connective tissues all throughout the body. The heart, joints, skin, and brain can all be affected by this disease. Rheumatic heart disease occurs when the heart valves become inflamed for a long period of time. This leads to scarring, which restricts the function of the valves and prohibits the heart from doing its job. Over the years, this condition can slowly grow worse and worse until the individual succumbs to heart failure. Parents should be especially cautious when handling their children’s medical needs as rheumatic fever most commonly affects children between the ages of five and fifteen. If you or your child develop a streptococcal infection, and you fail to treat the condition, it could increase the risk of rheumatic heart disease for both of you.

Examining the Symptoms

A history of strep infection or rheumatic fever may be indicative of a more severe problem to come. Rheumatic fever symptoms can usually be diagnosed anywhere from one to six weeks after developing strep throat. Some common symptoms of rheumatic heart disease include:


  • Fever

  • Swollen and painful joints (i.e., knees, ankles)

  • Nodules

  • Rash (i.e., chest, back, and abdomen)

  • Shortness of breath

  • Chest discomfort

  • Involuntary or uncontrollable movements (i.e., arms, legs, and facial muscles)

  • Weakness

What Can You Do to Prevent Rheumatic Heart Disease?

Preventing rheumatic heart disease starts with a diagnosis from Dr. Popat, the best cardiologist in Tampa. Some tests that can be used to diagnose this disease include an echocardiogram, electrocardiogram, chest x-ray, cardiac MRI, and blood tests. After determining whether or not you are at risk, Dr. Popat can discuss treatment options. Of course, prevention is always preferable, but if surgical methods are necessary to treat you condition, Dr. Popat can employ the latest interventional techniques to minimize patient discomfort and expedite recovery times. Remember, rheumatic heart disease can lead to heart failure, so you can’t afford to wait to take care of your heart.

To consult Jesal V. Popat, M.D., FACC, the best cardiologist in the Tampa Bay area, please call (813) 344-0934 or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment.

Disclaimer: The contents of this website are for general educational purposes only. All content and media on the Jesal V. Popat, M.D., FACC website does not constitute professional medical advice nor is the information intended to replace the services of Jesal V. Popat, M.D., FACC or other qualified medical professionals. If you believe you are having a medical emergency, call 911 immediately. 


The content, views, and opinions communicated on this website do not represent the views of Jesal V. Popat, M.D., FACC. Reliance on any information provided by this website is solely at your own risk. Although this website contains links to other medical websites, this is strictly for informational purposes. Jesal V. Popat, M.D., FACC is not responsible nor does the medical practice approve of the content featured on any third party linked websites referenced on this website.

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