Sunday, May 11, 2008

Kawasaki Disease, a Children's Disorder of the Blood Vessels

Kawasaki disease (also called Kawasaki syndrome) is a childhood illness that involves inflammation of the blood vessels. It affects the mucus membranes, blood vessels (particularly the walls of the vessels), lymph nodes, and the heart, according to the Medline Plus medical encyclopedia.

Kawasaki disease is relatively rare and was first discovered in Japan, which is still the country where it occurs most frequently. In the United States, Kawasaki disease is seen most often in children of Japanese or Korean descent, though it can be found in children of all ethnic groups.

Medline notes that Kawasaki disease is "the most common cause of acquired heart disease in children." Inflammation of the coronary arteries can potentially lead to an aneurysm. The good news is that Kawasaki disease is treatable and the child can make a full recovery is the disorder is recognized and treated early.

The disorder is mainly seen in children under age five. The most common symptom of Kawasaki disease is a high fever (around 102 degrees Fahrenheit or more) that lasts at least five days. But to reach a diagnosis of Kawasaki disease, a number of other symptoms must be present.

You can find those signs and symptoms, as well as information on diagnosis, treatment, and complications, in articles at a number of helpful Web sites, including,, and the American Heart Association.

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