Kawasaki Disease (KD) is a problem that affects children majorly. It can also common among teenagers. The problem can cause inflammation of the lymph nodes and lead to heart disease. KD affects boys compared to girls. It is also more prevalent among children of Pacific Island or Asian descent. But, it does not mean that the problem will not strike others. The children and teenagers of different racial and ethnic background can get affected by the problem. You need immediate treatment to overcome the issue. Else, it can lead to serious complications. Ignoring the problem can trigger heart disease. Therefore, you need to consult the doctor as soon as possible to get the required treatment. With proper treatment at the right time, the chances to improve the quality of life increases. So, children can recover quickly without any lasting problem. But, delaying the treatment can lead to severe complications. Read ahead to know more details of the disease and how to handle the condition.
What Is Kawasaki Disease?
Kawasaki disease can trigger inflammation in the walls of your veins, arteries, and capillaries throughout the body. But, it tends to affect the coronary arteries particularly. KD can also affect the lymph nodes. So, it triggers issues in your throat, mouth, and nose. It mostly affects children below the age of five. Also known as mucocutaneous lymph nodes, the problem can negatively affect your heart. As the coronary arteries get affected by KD, it can interfere with the blood supply to your heart muscles. Therefore, it can result in heart problem.
Symptoms Of Kawasaki Disease
Kawasaki disease can affect people mostly during the spring season or the late winter. The problem is prevalent in Asian countries. It mostly occurs during the middle of the summer. The disease appears in stages. Each stage has different signs. So, when you observe the signs on you or your child, get medical help. Seeking medical assistance during the early stages can prevent any complications. Therefore, look into the telltale signs that indicate the presence of the disease.
Early Stages Of KD
During the early stage, you may signs and symptoms that indicate some underlying health problem. It usually lasts up to two weeks. But, the signs may not cause severe distress, which makes most people ignore it. So, you need to pay close attention and look for the following issues:
- High fever that can last for five days or more
- Swollen lips bright red in color
- The appearance of a rash on your groin and torso region
- Bloodshot eyes that appear without crusting
- The shiny tongue that has bright red spots (also known as the strawberry tongue)
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Red soles of the feet and palms
- Heart problems
When you get treatment for the issue during the early stages, it prevents further complications and distress. Failure to seek medical help can result in the escalation of Kawasaki disease.
After having a fever for two weeks, your symptoms escalate. In most cases, the child suffering from Kawasaki disease can see the skin peeling from their feet and hands. The skin comes off in sheets causing concern. The child may also suffer from joint pain or temporary arthritis. In the later stages of KD, the other symptoms that appear are:
- Abdominal Pain
- Temporary Hearing Loss
- Enlarged Gallbladder
At this point in time, you need to consult a doctor as soon as possible. Failure to seek treatment can result in a fatal complication. In most of the cases involving children, the incomplete symptoms may appear. It can lead to misdiagnosis and not getting proper treatment. So, children can develop heart diseases and associated complications. 25% of the children below one year of age and above five years of age can develop heart problems due to KD.
Causes Of Kawasaki Disease
The exact reason triggering KD remains a mystery to researchers. Therefore, scientists find it difficult to pinpoint the exact reason causing the problem. The children affected by the disease mostly come under the Asian race. Apart from that Kawasaki disease affects people during a specific season. So, it has led to the speculation that the mix of genetics, as well as environmental factors, cause the disease.
Risk Factors Associated With Kawasaki Disease
Some people are more at risk of developing the issue compared to others. The risk factors that make an individual vulnerable to the disease are:
Kawasaki disease is more among children under five years of age. 75% of the total KD cases consists of children below 5 years.
Compared to the girls, boys have more chances of getting the disease.
You cannot inherit the disease. But, if your close family member suffers from the problem, then your chances of getting it increases tenfold.
The problem can affect children of Asian descent like Korean or Japanese. It is also more prevalent in children of Pacific Island descent.
Diagnosis Of Kawasaki Disease
KD can result in the inflammation of the lymph nodes as well as blood vessels. But, you have no specific diagnostic test for detecting the issue. It leads to misdiagnosis of the problem. Therefore, the doctor relies on the symptoms exhibited by the children to make a diagnosis. Unfortunately, several other diseases have the same signs as KD. So, the first step of diagnosis involves eliminating other illnesses with similar signs. The following diseases can trigger the same kind of reaction like KD:
It is a type of infection triggered by bacteria. The problems can result in fever and chills in people. It can also result in a sore throat.
Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis
It is the chronic condition resulting in inflammation in your joints. The problem can lead to severe pain and distress.
The contagious infectious disease caused due to measles virus can trigger several symptoms like fever, runny nose, cough, inflamed eyes, etc.
Toxic shock syndrome
It is the condition triggered by bacterial toxins. It can result in symptoms like skin peeling, rash, and high fever.
Idiopathic Juvenile Arthritis
It is arthritis affecting children under the age of sixteen. It can cause joint pain, stiffness, and swelling in the hands and legs.
Juvenile Mercury Poisoning
Children exposed to mercury can sustain mercury poisoning. It can cause muscle weakness, skin rashes, numbness in hands as well as feet, and other problems.
Your child can suffer from the medical reaction due to reaction to any specific medication. It can trigger an allergic reaction in the child’s body leading to different symptoms.
After the pediatrician rules out other diseases with the same symptoms, your child needs further tests. It is to check the severity of the problem and its adverse effect on the heart. Many tests can help determine the condition of the heart. It is advised to get medical help as soon as possible to prevent the issue from causing more complications. To conclude the accuracy of the diagnosis and detect the severity, the following tests may help your doctor:
The urine test ordered by the doctor helps eliminate the presence of other diseases. Certain markers can rule out the diseases that have the same symptoms as KD.
The blood test can eliminate the presence of disease listed above that has the same symptoms as KD. The blood tests also help know the child’s white blood count (WBC). The elevated WBC levels indicate the presence of inflammation and anemia. The two issues point directly towards Kawasaki disease.
The blood test can detect a substance known as BNP (B-type Natriuretic Peptide). It can assess the patient’s heart function. Generally, the body releases BNP when the heart becomes stressed. It is the initial test that can avoid further complications. With early detection of Kawasaki disease using the blood test, the children can get adequate medical treatment.
It is the non-invasive and painless procedure to determine the structural abnormalities of the heart as well as the arteries. Using the sound waves, the test can create pictures of your heart. So, it can provide a clear picture to your doctor. Your doctor suggests the test several times to determine the influence of KD on your heart. Therefore, it shows how the disease has affected the heart and arteries over a certain period of time.
The chest x-ray offers the black-white images of the lungs as well as the heart. So, it can provide a comprehensive view of problems with the organs. It helps detect problems like inflammation and signs of heart failure.
ECG or electrocardiogram can measure your heart’s electrical activity. It can also show the irregularities of the heart function. Therefore, the doctor can assess if the heart suffers complications due to KD.
Many times, the doctor misdiagnosed the problem. But, Kawasaki disease is a possibility for people suffering from fever for more than five days. Peeling of the skin is another sign that points to the issue. Therefore, consult a good doctor to get early treatment and ensure complete recovery.
Kawasaki Disease Treatment Options
Getting timely treatment for Kawasaki disease can avoid complications. So, children and other people diagnosed with KD need to get treatment as soon as possible. Small kids who suffer from the problem need medical attention early to avoid heart problems. Several reports have indicated that children develop resistance to the treatment within the fifth day of suffering from fever. Around 10% to 23% of children with KD have resistance. Depending on the severity of the issue, your doctor can suggest the following treatment options:
The first line of treatment involves the infusion of gamma globulin, an immune protein into the child’s body. It is provided through your vein (intravenously). It helps reduce the risk of coronary artery problems. So, the treatment is offered to children for over twelve hours within the ten days of fever.
Children need to take aspirin to avoid blood clots. A low dose of aspirin is offered to affected people for the next six to eight weeks to avoid clot formation. It can significantly reduce heart complications. Your doctor may prescribe high doses of aspirin to prevent inflammation and pain.
In some cases, doctors add prednisolone with the gamma globulin to reduce potential heart problem. It may prove effective for some people. But, its effectiveness needs further testing in other populations.
Children need constant monitoring to ensure the heart function properly. Therefore, your doctor can suggest echocardiograph to detect the heart function. In normal cases, it takes six to eight weeks to reverse the coronary artery abnormalities.
Complications Of Kawasaki Disease
Ignoring the signs of the disease can lead to serious complications. In most children who delay treatment due to ignorance of misdiagnosis, the problem can trigger serious heart problems. Around 25% of the children who suffer from Kawasaki Disease face a high risk of heart problems. So, the children have an increased risk of heart attack and other complications like:
- Heart muscle inflammation also referred to as myocarditis
- Abnormal heart rhythm referred to as dysrhythmia
- Bulging or weakening of the artery walls in the heart known as an aneurysm
When you ignore the early symptoms, the treatment becomes difficult. So, severe complication needs long-term treatments or invasive procedures to overcome the problem. The treatment during the later stage of the Kawasaki disease includes:
- Coronary artery Stenting
- Aspiring dosing for a long duration of time
- Coronary Angioplasty
- Take blood thinners long-term
- Coronary artery bypass
Long-term Outlook For Kawasaki Disease
People who suffer from Kawasaki disease can expect four different outcomes. The outcome entirely depends on the time you take to seek medical treatment. So, your chances to live a normal life depends entirely on the swift action.
When you notice the signs in your child or yourself, talk to your doctor. The early detection and diagnosis of the problem will help develop a treatment plan. It helps you make a complete recovery without any complications. So, getting medical help as early as possible will aid in preventing problems.
Develop Artery Problems
Delaying the treatment can lead to a heart problem. In most cases, ignoring the signs can result in developing coronary artery problems. In the majority of cases (60%), proper treatment can reduce the ill-effects of the problem with treatment. So, you need to get treatment for at least a year to overcome the issue.
Ignoring the signs or misdiagnosing can lead to long-term issues. In most cases, the patient has to suffer heart-related problems. It requires treatment for a long duration of time. With good treatment, you can manage the problem.
Recurrence Of Kawasaki Disease
It occurs only in a small percentage of people suffering from the disease. Around 3% of people with Kawasaki disease can experience recurrence. The problem can affect people again after some time. Therefore, people who have suffered from the disease earlier need to keep track of their health.
It is important that people who have endured the problem earlier constantly monitor their heart. Therefore, receiving an echocardiogram once in a year or once every two years will help detect the problem early. The early screening can eliminate any complication that can arise due to the issue.
Preventing Kawasaki Disease
Unfortunately, it is impossible to prevent the disease from affecting your child. You cannot take any steps to ensure your child remains safe from the problem. It is a disease that can affect one among hundreds of children. Therefore, you can only take steps once it affects the child. Keep monitoring your child for signs that indicate the issue. Early detection and treatment can improve the prognosis of the Kawasaki disease. But, children and adults who have increased the risk of getting the disease or have already suffered from it can adopt some healthy changes in their life. It can prevent the occurrence of the disease to a certain extent. So, you need to implement the following:
Follow Healthy Lifestyle
A healthy lifestyle can reduce the risk of Kawasaki disease. A good diet plan with essential vitamins and minerals can enhance the immune system. An active lifestyle can also keep the disease at bay.
Smoking can increase the chance of heart disease. It also elevates the risk of getting heart attacks. Therefore, people need to stop using nicotine products like cigarettes.
Excess weight can increase cholesterol levels in the body. It puts you at risk of heart problems. Therefore, include exercises to keep your body fit and fine.
Kawasaki Disease can affect any people of age at any time in their life. But, the issue remains common among children. Therefore, pay attention to your child’s health. Children below the age of five can contract KD. The problem may start with a high fever. When you seek treatment at the early stage, it improves the child’s chances of getting well soon. If you ignore the early signs, the problem can escalate. It can result in severe joint pain and agony in other parts of the body. Getting treatment at a later stage of the disease can increase the chances of heart problems. So, when you see a sign in your child, get medical help. A qualified and experienced doctor can perform tests to come to a precise diagnosis. The early and timely treatment can improve the outcome and offer your child better chances to have a normal life.
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