Can adults have rheumatic heart disease?
Rheumatic heart disease (RHD) is the result a single severe or a series of acute rheumatic fever (ARF). Although ARF can happen to anyone, it usually occurs in one’s childhood or early adulthood, between the ages of 5 and 15. Therefore, it is common for RHD to occur in young people under the age of 25. Strep throat is its first sign. Then it can turn to severe heart damage, which can kill or debilitate adolescents and young adults.
Once a patient is diagnosed with ARF in his or her childhood or young adulthood, he or she may be required to take antibiotics on daily basis until the age of 25 or 30, as an effort to prevent ARF from recurring.
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