Symptoms And Treatments Of Chagas Disease

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Chagas disease occurs in two stages. The severity and course of infection might be different in people infected at different times in life and in different ways. The first stage is the acute stage, which is characterized by the presence of chagomas. This stage lasts for the first few weeks or months of infection. It usually goes unnoticed because it is either asymptomatic, or the infected only exhibit signs/symptoms that are not entirely unique to the disease. This includes headaches, rash (chagomas), loss of appetite, fever, fatigue, body aches. The signs on physical examination may include mild hepatomegaly or splenomegaly and swollen glands. The most recognized marker of acute Chagas disease is called Romana’s sign, which refers to the swelling of the eyelids on the side of the face nearest the initial infection area (CDC, 2013). Even if these symptoms do occur, they usually fade away on their own, which is why the infection usually persists. If left untreated and/or unnoticed, the infected will end up in the chronic stage of the disease. In this stage, the infection may continue to remain silent for decades, or even throughout the entire life. 30% of infected in this stage will develop cardiac complications (cardiomyopathy, heart failure, cardiac arrest) or intestinal complications (megaesophagus, megacolon) (CDC, 2013). For most patients who develop a cardiac complication, it is too late and there is no treatment besides symptomatic.
Chagas disease can be diagnosed by

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