Symptoms of Sydenham Chorea

Onset of the symptoms of Sydenham Chorea are either gradual or sudden by nature. The disease is more common in females and affects children below the age of 18 years. Cases of adults getting affected are rare.

It is an autoimmune response of the body when an infection is caused by a micro-organism Group A beta-hemolytic Streptococci. Here, the cells of the immune system target a group of nuclei of brain cells called basal ganglia. This article tries to gain further insight on the signs of this ailment.

Symptoms of Sydenham Chorea:

  • Involuntary movements – of limbs, face, and torso.
  • Muscle weakness
  • Hypotonia or decreased muscle tone
  • Restlessness
  • Clumsiness
  • Facial grimacing
  • Smirking facial expressions
  • Poor coordination
  • Facial spasms or a sudden, involuntary contraction of facial muscle
  • Shoulder spasms or a sudden, involuntary contraction of shoulder muscle
  • Hip spasms or a sudden, involuntary contraction of hip muscle
  • Purposeless movements
  • Short-lasting movements
  • Irregular movements
  • Movements do not exist during sleeping
  • Choreiform movements – Rapid jerky movements due to chorea which is an abnormal involuntary movement disorder
  • Irritability
  • Weakness
  • Voice changes
  • Emotional instability
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder – an anxiety disorder involving unwanted thoughts and repetitive behaviour
  • Flaccid muscles
  • Speaking difficulty
  • Deterioration of handwriting
  • Gait change – Change in the manner a person walks
  • Slowed cognition
  • Carditis – Inflammation of the heart and its surroundings
  • Arthritis – an autoimmune disease where the healthy joints cells of the body are attacked by immune system cells causing swelling and pain

50 percent of patients recover within 2-6 months while in some cases the symptoms of Sydenham Chorea continue to exist even after 2 years.

Rheumatic fever (a type of inflammatory disease), pregnancy, systemic lupus erythematosus (an autoimmune disorder where the immune system targets multiple organs of the body) and hyperthyroidism (excess production of thyroid hormone) are some of the associated conditions with this ailment.

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