Strep untreated can cause heart damage

February 27, 2009 1:36:52 PM PST
Strep throat season is in full swing and here's a good reason to get to the doctor if you suspect you may have the illness. Most cases, once treated, will pass without any serious complications.

But the American Heart Association warns one particular strain can cause a condition called rheumatic fever if left untreated. That may trigger scarring on the heart valves, which leads to a lifetime of heart disease.

The AHA says patients should be sure to be checked out, have a throat culture and get on a course of antibiotics if a doctor deems it necessary.