Kawasaki Disease

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Kawasaki disease is a condition that causes inflammation in the walls of small and medium sized arteries throughout the body, including the coronary arteries. Kawasaki disease is also called mucocutaneous lymph node syndrome because it also affects the lymph nodes, skin, and the mucous membrane inside the mouth, nose, and throat. Kawasaki disease occurs most frequently in Japan, where the disease was first discovered. It is a rare childhood disease and occurs mostly in boys than girls. It mostly affects children 1-2 yrs. old and is less common for children over the age of eight. It is not contagious it doesn’t spread from child to child. Pathologist don’t know what the cause of this disease is; however, microorganism and toxins have been suspected, but none has been identified as of yet. Genetic factors and the immune system seem to play roles in this disease. Signs and symptoms a parent should watch out for is: fever that last up to five days, inflammation of reddening of the whites of the eyes, swelling of the hands and feet, skin peeling, lymph nodes swelling in the neck, cracking and inflamed lips or throat, a red strawberry tongue. There is no single test that can diagnose Kawasaki disease. A history of a high and persistent fever combined with other classic symptoms is generally used to make a diagnosis. A variety of test would have to be done such as blood, urine, x-rays of the chest, and an echocardiogram to diagnose Kawasaki disease. If a child is diagnosed with this rare disease they can be treated with high doses of asprine to reduce inflammation and to thin out the blood to prevent blood clot formation. This treatment has been shown to decrease the chance of developing aneurysms in the coronary arteries. Sometimes cortisone medications are given. Persisting joint pains are treated with anti-inflammatory drugs, such as Advil or Aleve. After the diagnosing and the treatment usually Kawasaki disease will go away in 6-8 weeks; however, that’s not the...
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