Rheumatic heart disease (RHD) is a type of rare heart disease found in children of age group 5-15 years, which occurs due to the inflammation of heart. This inflammation is caused due to an infection of Streptococcus bacteria that leads to symptoms like sore throat (strep throat) and fever called rheumatic fever.
The problem starts with a person suffering from a condition called rheumatic feveras a child. Since this fever is often very slight it is ignored. The child may subsequently have joint pain and active rheumatic carditis (a condition where the heart is inflamed due to infection). The child may also have shortness of breath and chest pain with high fever. The downside to this disease is that these symptoms are short lived and subside quickly, and since it does not recur it is often ignored. By the time one notices the first symptom of rheumatic fever to the time they notice something gravely wrong and visit a doctor, it is usually quite late and the heart valve is affected. One of the first valves to be affected is the mitral valve. (Read: Rheumatoid Arthritis: Your guide to living with the disease)
Read more about causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of heart disease.