MORE COMMON IMMUNE-SYSTEM DISEASES: PEPTIC ULCER AND RHEUMATIC FEVER

PEPTIC ULCER: most commonly found in the first part of the intestine (called the duodenum) and also in the stomach and esophagus. Usually occurs in adults, although it can strike children as well.

Signs and Symptoms: pain, which may begin as a hunger pang or an “empty feeling.” This may progress to a soreness, then an aching and gnawing feeling, on to a burning sensation and possibly severe pain. Often there is bleeding from the ulcer, causing black colored stool, or there may be vomiting of blood. Pain is usually located in the upper-middle portion of the abdomen, but can occur in other places. Eating usually brings pain relief. Patients often wake up in the middle of the night with abdominal pain.

RHEUMATIC FEVER: streptococcal infection of the throat, which then attacks joints and the heart. Usually occurs in children.

Signs and Symptoms: skin rash; pains in joints; swelling of joints; malaise; fatigue; lethargy. Can cause heart murmers. May be vague abdominal pain. People used to call the joint pains “growing pains.”

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