Understanding Congenital Heart Disease

Various congenital disabilities can worry you as a parent, and congenital heart disease is one of them. This is a birth complication that affects the way the heat works in children. There is no apparent cause of congenital heart disease, but some things can increase the risk of the condition, especially in mothers during pregnancy. 

Possible Risk Factors of Congenital Heart Disease

  • When the mother has certain infections during pregnancy, such as rubella
  • When the mother takes certain types of medicine during pregnancy, such as acne medicine or statins.
  • The mother engages in excessive smoking or drinking during pregnancy. 
  • When there is poor control and management of type-1-diabetes or type-2-diabetes.
  • Alteration of genes that cause chromosome defects that can run in the family.
  • Down’s syndrome

Signs and Symptoms of Congenital Heart Disease

The following are among the many symptoms of congenital heart disease, particularly in babies and children, which you should know.

  • Rapid and heavy breathing
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Swelling of the tummy, legs, and around the eyes
  • A child experiencing extreme fatigue and tiredness
  • Cyanosis – a blue tinge to the skin
  • When the baby is feeding, there is rapid breathing and tiredness. 

You should note that sometimes, signs and symptoms are noticeable soon after birth, and most of the mild defects may cause problems later in life.

The Types of Congenital Heart Disease

Septal Defects

This is where there is a hole between the two heart chambers. The hole affects the heart’s functionality.

Pulmonary Valve Stenosis

This is where the pulmonary vein that controls blood flow out of the lower right chamber of the heart to the lungs becomes narrower than normal. 

Underdeveloped Heart

This is where part of the heart doesn’t develop properly and, in the long run, makes it difficult for it to pump and allow enough blood to flow around the body and or the lungs.

Transposition of the Great Arteries

When the pulmonary and aortic valves and arteries swap positions in the connections, this type of congenital heart disease occurs. 

Coarctation of the Aorta

This is when the main large artery of the body, the aorta, becomes narrower than normal, affecting the heart’s functionality in the process.

Treatment and Prevention of Congenital Heart Disease

The heart defect in you or the child, in most cases, determines the kind of treatment you will receive. 

More often, mild defects such as holes in the heart don’t need treatment as they always improve independently, and rarely do they cause future problems.

In heart defects that are severe and can lead to further problems, one can consider surgery or interventional procedures. With modern surgical techniques and medical equipment, it is now possible to restore most of the heart’s performance and normal functioning. 

You should, however, note that people with congenital heart disease often require treatment and medical care throughout their lives. This means that getting specialist reviews during childhood and adulthood becomes essential. With the high chances of developing further heart complications in the future, getting specialist review and attention is instrumental.

Congenital heart disease is rare but affects mostly children. It is essential to seek medical intervention and care as soon as you get the diagnosis. With the availability of specialists and the medical team, getting the right medical assistance and treatment becomes possible.

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