Kawasaki Disease: Causes, Symptoms and Possible Treatments

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Kawasaki disease is an inflammatory disease that produces swelling and redness in blood vessels all over the body. It comprises three stages, the first of which is frequently a persistent fever.

The illness mostly affects children under the age of five. When signs of Kawasaki illness are recognized early and treated, children with the disease begin to feel better within a few days.

In children with Kawasaki disease, the walls of small to medium-sized blood arteries that carry blood throughout the body expand (inflammation). Inflammation of the coronary arteries, which carry oxygen-rich blood to the heart, is a common symptom of Kawasaki disease.

Because it involves swelling in glands (lymph nodes) and mucous membranes within the mouth, nose, eyes, and throat, Kawasaki’s illness was previously known as mucocutaneous lymph node syndrome.

High fever, swollen hands and feet with skin peeling, and red eyes and tongue are all symptoms of Kawasaki disease in children. However, Kawasaki disease is frequently curable, and most children who get therapy within 10 days of onset recover without major complications.

More Information about the Kawasaki Disease

Kawasaki disease, commonly known as Kawasaki syndrome, is a febrile sickness with an unknown cause that mostly affects children under the age of five. Tomisaku Kawasaki was the first to identify the condition in Japan in 1967, and the first instances outside of Japan were recorded in Hawaii in 1976.

In addition, fever, rash, swelling of the hands and feet, irritation and redness of the whites of the eyes, swollen lymph glands in the neck, and irritation and inflammation of the mouth, lips, and throat are some of the clinical symptoms.

Also, in the United States, Kawasaki disease is the primary cause of acquired heart disease. Coronary artery dilatations and aneurysms are serious consequences. Intravenous immunoglobulin and aspirin, the conventional treatment, significantly reduce the development of these coronary artery anomalies.

Kawasaki disease is found all around the world, with the highest prevalence in Japan, and it primarily affects boys and younger children. It has been documented to have a winter-spring seasonality, and community-wide outbreaks have occurred on occasion.

Kawasaki Disease Risk Factors

Scientists are still trying to figure out what causes Kawasaki disease. It could be linked to genes, viruses, bacteria, and other environmental factors such as toxins and irritants in a child’s environment.

Although the disease is unlikely to be communicable, it might occur in clusters in a community. In the winter and spring, children are more likely to contract it.

Other factors that can increase a child’s risk of developing Kawasaki disease include:

  • Age. It usually affects youngsters under the age of five.
  • Boys are 1.5 times as likely than girls to have sex.
  • Ethnicity. Kawasaki disease is more common among children of Asian heritage.

Symptoms of Kawasaki Disease

Kawasaki’s illness manifests itself in stages, each with distinct symptoms and indications. Late winter and early spring are the most common times for the disease to occur. KD instances surge in the middle of the summer in various Asian nations.

In its early beginnings

Early signs and symptoms can last up to two weeks and include:

  • a high fever that lasts five days or longer
  • bloodshot eyes without crusting bright red, puffy lips rash on the stomach and groin
  • The tongue has a “strawberry” appearance, which is shiny and brilliant with red dots.
  • lymph nodes swollen
  • Hands and feet swollen
  • palms and soles of the foot are red
  • During this time, you may experience heart difficulties.

In its later stages

Within two weeks of the fever, further symptoms appear. The skin on your child’s hands and feet may begin to peel and come off in sheets. Temporary arthritis, or joint pain, may develop in some children.

Among the other signs and symptoms are:

  • gallbladder enlargement abdominal discomfort vomiting diarrhea
  • hearing loss that is only transient

If your kid exhibits any of these signs, contact your doctor. Children under the age of one and those beyond the age of five are more likely to have incomplete symptoms. These youngsters make up the 25% of children with KD who are at a higher risk of heart disease consequences.

Kawasaki Disease Diagnosis

Your doctor will do a physical exam and ask about your child’s symptoms. They’ll look for a long-lasting fever and at least four of these five signs:

  • Red eyes, Red lips and mouth
  • Swollen limbs
  • Rash
  • Swollen lymph nodes

They may need to do tests to rule out other illnesses or to see whether the condition has affected your child’s heart. These include:

  • Heart tests such as electrocardiogram (EKG) and echocardiogram
  • Blood tests
  • Imaging tests like X-rays and coronary angiogram

What Kinds of Complications Might Occur?

When Kawasaki disease is detected early, doctors can treat the symptoms. Within a few days of starting treatment, the majority of children will feel much better.

Patients may experience major heart issues if the condition isn’t discovered until later, such as:

  • an aneurysm (a bulge in the wall) of the coronary arteries, which supply blood to the heart
  • inflammation of the heart muscle, lining, valves, and the outer membrane around the heart
  • arrhythmias, which are changes in the normal pattern of the heartbeat
  • problems with some heart valves

Possible treatments

To avoid cardiac damage, children with KD should start treatment right away.

Within 10 days following the fever, an infusion of antibodies (intravenous immunoglobulin) is given over 12 hours, followed by a daily dose of aspirin for the next four days. To avoid blood clots, the kid may need to take reduced dosages of aspirin for another six to eight weeks after the fever has gone away.

Prednisolone was also found to dramatically minimize the risk of heart damage in one research. This, however, has yet to be proven in other groups.

When it comes to preventing significant heart problems, timing is crucial. Treatment resistance is also stronger when given before the fifth day of the fever, according to studies. Approximately 11 to 23% of children with KD will develop resistance.

To avoid a clogged artery or a heart attack, certain youngsters may require a longer treatment period. In these circumstances, daily antiplatelet aspirin dosages are given until an echocardiogram is normal. Coronary artery anomalies can take six to eight weeks to reverse.

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