advertisement



Q & A Library


Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

Q
A Mystery Disease in Children?
My 5-year-old grandson has been diagnosed with Kawasaki disease. We have so many unanswered questions. What do you know about this disease?
A
Answer (Published 4/8/2004)

Kawasaki disease occurs among young children, usually under the age of five. While there￯﾿ツ￯ᄒメs a higher incidence among Japanese and Korean youngsters, the disease can strike any child. About 2,000 cases occur each year in the United States; boys are one-and-a-half times more likely to be affected than girls.

Related Weil Products
Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor for Energy - If you are a parent or grandparent, you know that abundant energy is vital when it comes to keeping up with the kids. Certain supplements can help keep you energized, naturally - learn more, and get your free, personalized Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor Recommendation.

Kawasaki disease was named after the Japanese physician who first described it, and is diagnosed when a child has a fever higher than 103 degrees Fahrenheit for five days or more, and also has four of the following five symptoms:

  • Eye redness (conjunctivitis).
  • Reddening of the tongue or mouth area.
  • Swelling and peeling of the skin on the hands and feet.
  • A rash on the body, often starting in the groin.
  • Swollen glands in the neck, typically only on one side.

The symptoms usually disappear on their own within six to eight weeks, but Kawasaki disease can also lead to inflammation of medium-sized arteries, especially the coronary arteries. This is a serious complication. In 20 to 25 percent of all untreated cases, the disease can lead to coronary artery aneurysm (a bulge that weakens the arterial wall), which increases the risk that a blood clot could form and block the flow of blood to the heart. In addition to the coronary arteries, the muscle, lining or valves of the heart, or the outer membrane surrounding the heart can become inflamed. Other potential complications include arrhythmias (abnormal heartbeats) or the malfunction of heart valves.

No one knows what causes Kawasaki disease. For years, doctors have speculated that some kind of infectious agent is to blame, but none has ever been identified. Researchers once thought that exposure to carpet cleaners might be a cause, but studies have not confirmed any association. Nor has any link been found between Kawasaki disease and dust mites, which had been suspected as a possible trigger.

Treatment consists of high-dose gamma globulin given intravenously over 12 hours, or smaller doses given over four days. High-dose aspirin is also given to reduce the risk of coronary artery aneurysms. If a coronary aneurysm does develop, high-dose aspirin may be continued for up to eight weeks or until tests show improvement. Occasionally, a child will need to take stronger blood-thinning drugs to prevent blood clots from forming. Most youngsters feel better soon after treatment begins, but some may need a second course of treatment with gamma globulin.

After treatment, youngsters will need follow-up echocardiograms to make sure that no coronary artery complications remain. This painless, noninvasive test examines the heart through the use of harmless, high-frequency sound waves that are aimed at the heart and then are reflected back to a machine that analyzes them and generates an image of the heart.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle, LLC on DrWeil.com (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Start eating for your health - begin your free trial now.

Dr. Weil's Spontaneous Happiness
Achieve emotional well-being
in just eight weeks!
Start your 10-day free trial now!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Optimum Health Plan
Your 8-week plan to wellness.
Begin your journey today!
 

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe
Wellness Guide

Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet Food Pyramid
Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

Condition Care Guide
Learn about health conditions from acne to vertigo, and Dr. Weil's view of the best treatment options for each.

Healthy Recipes
Discover a treasure trove of healthy, healing foods and creative, delicious ways to prepare them.

Q&A Library
Over 2,000 questions from you
and their corresponding answers
from Dr. Weil.

 
Copyright © 2014 Weil Lifestyle, LLC
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here