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Will my son also suffer from rheumatic pain?

Q: I am a 25 year old woman. When I was 12 years old, I experienced great pain in my leg especially in the knee joints. On consultation, the doctor said that it was a growing pain. But at the age of 17, another doctor said that it was rheumatic pain and my blood was tested for ASO Titre and the result was positive (400 units). Doctor prescribed me Kaypen-250 and asked me to continue it for 5 years with occasional blood tests. Even now I experience palpitation occasionaly. I got married at the age of 22, my delivery was also normal. Is there any chance of my son getting it? He is one and a half years old. Will I get it again? At night I often experience pain in my leg which subsides by morning. Should I get a blood test done again? Why am I getting palpitations?

A:It is very difficult to know what exactly was your problem when you were 12 years old. The same is true of the symptoms at 17 years of age. In India there is a tendency for the doctors to over-diagnose rheumatic fever in children and juveniles, the basis of which is usually not very clear. Any way, the diagnosis of rheumatic fever should never be made in the presence of persistent arthritis. I am not sure of the exact nature of your symptoms at the age of 17 years; whether you had a persistent arthritis (persistent swelling and pain in the joints) or not etc. It is important to note that rheumatic fever does NOT start for the first time at the age of 17 years and ASO titre is NOT diagnostic of rheumatic fever as it can be high due to so many other reasons. In summary, it is almost impossible to know what exactly you had earlier. Therefore, it is even more difficult to say whether your son would also have the same problem or not. If it was rheumatic fever (which it is unlikely) your son is not likely to have the same problem. If you had juvenile idiopathic arthritis (the common form of joint disease of childhood) then also there is no chance of your son getting the same. Regarding palpitations, you may like to consult a general physician or a cardiologist.


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