Acute rheumatism, or rheumatic fever, is a disease with distinctive characteristics, but the terms rheumatism, rheumatic and rheumatoid are applied to disorders which have little or no connection with acute rheumatism, a fact which should be borne in mind when considering such disorders.
Acute rheumatism is an infective disease caused probably by a streptococcus, the route of entrance to the body being by way of the throat or the nasopharynx. Children and young adults are mostly affected. Dampness in the home and the existence of sepsis in the tonsils are factors which strongly favor the occurrence of acute rheumatism. One attack predisposes to others.
The onset of an attack may be preceded by sore throat or general slight pain, but usually it is sudden, with fever and pain, redness and swelling of one of the large joints-the knee, elbow, wrist or ankle. Other large joints are soon affected, the pain disappearing from one as another becomes involved. The affected joint is very tender, and even to jar the bed causes severe suffering.
There is profuse sweating, and the sweat has a sour odor; often crops of small, glistening blisters form on the skin. The fever may be high, but, as a rule, there is no delirium, unless hyperpyrexia should occur.
In about half the number of those who suffer from acute rheumatism there is inflammation of the lining of the heart, or endocarditis. Sometimes there is pericarditis as well, or this may occur independently; sometimes there is pleurisy. In some cases, especially in children, little firm, painless swellings occur beneath the skin over tendons or bones. These are called rheumatic nodules, and vary in size from that of a pinhead to that of a large pea.
When the symptoms are less severe than in the above description, rheumatism is said to be subacute. There are slighter cases still which are often neglected because they are considered to be “growing pains,” in ignorance of the fact that healthy growth causes no pain. In other instances acute rheumatism occurs simply in the form of sore throat, and in others the most prominent symptoms are those of chorea, or St. Vitus’ dance.
It cannot be too strongly emphasized that there is the same risk of involvement of the heart in the slighter forms of acute rheumatism as in the typical disease. In fact, it is not uncommon to find rheumatic disease of the heart when other signs of the disease have been absent or are so slight as to be overlooked.
The after-effects of acute rheumatism may be very serious, from the effects on the heart, but as regards the joints complete recovery is to be expected. The joints never suppurate, and any stiffness or impairment of movement after the acute symptoms have gone is very rare.
A person who suffers from acute rheumatism should be kept absolutely in bed, however slight the disease may appear to be, not getting out of bed on any pretext whatever. He should lie between blankets and wear a flannel night dress which opens down the front and down the sleeves, so that it can be readily taken off; this is of great importance when the patient is sweating freely. The general treatment is that of fever, but a thorough course of salicylates must be administered. Salicylates should clear away the pain and reduce the temperature in acute rheumatism within 48 hours. The joints should be covered with cotton wool, and it is desirable also to smear them with methyl salicylate. Rest for a joint can be secured by a splint.
Complications are treated as described under individual headings. When the patient is convalescent, attention should be paid to the state of the throat, and the question of removing diseased tonsils may have to be considered. The patient, especially if a child, should be seen by a doctor from time to time for some years after an attack of acute rheumatism.
The so-called chronic rheumatism is a disease which affects adults, especially those whose occupations expose them to cold and damp. The joints may become stiff and painful, and more or less swollen. Another form is called muscular rheumatism. All these cases are instances of fibrositis, and should be treated as such. A condition described as rheumatic gout, and in neither case has any connection with rheumatism. See: Heart..
Application and treatment:
A disease marked by inflammation of the connective tissue structures of the body, especially the muscles and joints, by pain in these parts, by growths on the valves of the heart and by presence of nodes in the myocardium (heart muscle) and skin. Some complaints are caused by overwork.
Aching of joints and swelling of the middle knuckles of the middle fingers are signs of this illness. Earliest symptoms are weakness, loss of weight, weariness and anemia. As it progresses, small joints of the fingers become sore, pain and stiffness move to larger joints of feet, legs, hands and arms. Pain may reach the neck. Chilling, fever, and sudden swelling or pain in the joints may occur. As the condition become chronic, joints refuse to function and develop knots that are signs of rheumatism. In these areas the skin may be unnaturally smooth and glossy.
Streptococci in the blood starts inflammation. This is readily controlled by proper applications or electromagnetic energy at 880 Hz. Use with attention to polarity.
Arthritis, gout, and rheumatism are among the oldest diseases known, at present affecting more than 11 million people in the USA. Arthritis diseases, whose symptoms are relieved by positive polarity in 1/2 hour to 3 days, are those that affect singly or in various combinations the tissues of the joint: the cartilage, the adjacent bone, and the synovial membrane.
Rheumatism, by contrast, attacks tissues around the joint such as soft tissues. This includes the fibrous capsule surrounding the joint and lining or encirculating bundles of sheaths and muscles and nerves, ligaments, tendons and bursae (sac-like cavities).
Causes include acute or chronic stresses and strains from injuries, heredity, infections, allergies, tumors, metabolic disorders and negative polarity in the joints from pesticides, food preservatives and dmgs and noxious rays from the earth.
(A) Walking pain, non-localized joint pain and extremities; in early stages chills and fever, thin and oily tongue coating, pulse rapid and floating.
(B) Joint pain – pain on application of cold, relief with the use of heat; joint area then appears normal and hot, tongue coating thin and white, pulse deep and wiry.
(C) Muscle pain – muscles numb, pain localized or in all extremities and conditions get worse when cloudy or rainy weather, tongue coating white and oily, pulse uneven and deep.