Some Important Facts About Heart Disease
Congenital heart disease is a malformation or type of defect in one of the structure of the heart, or the blood vessels in and around the heart. This damage occurs before you are born. It occurs when the fetus is in the uterus developing. And these issues affect eight to ten out of every one thousand children. The children may show symptoms at birth, or later in childhood, and sometimes not until they become adults. Roughly five hundred thousand adults have congenital heart disease.
In most people affected by this disease, the cause it not known. But there are some common factors that can be associated with the chance you have of developing heart disease. Among these risk factors are:
If a parent or sibling has congenital heart disease, the children of a family member has double the risk of contracting the disease.
A viral infection in the mother, like Rubella, during the pregnancy's first trimester.
Taking certain medications or drug or alcohol abuse during pregnancy.
Chromosomal or genetic abnormalities in the child – like Down syndrome, etc.
So, what are the different types of heart disease? The most common of congenital heart issues include:
Abnormalities in the heart muscles, which can lead to heart failure.
Defects in the atria and ventricles or the walls between them.
Heart valve defects, which include complete closure or narrowing of the valves. Sometimes the issues prevent the proper flow of blood, and sometimes it will cause leaking valves that do not close correctly – these let blood leak after the heart pumps.
The symptoms in adults of Congenital Heart Disease can include:
Limited ability to tolerate exercise
Shortness of breath
Heart murmur and abnormal heartbeat
When your doctor hears the abnormal beat, he or she will normally order an echocardiogram, a PET scan, and MRI, EKG, chest X-ray, cardiac catheterization or IVUS test.
If you are diagnosed with congenital heart disease, your treatment will most likely be based on how serious your condition is. Some of the milder defects will not require any treatment. Some other defects can be treated with surgery, procedures or medications. Most adults who have cardiac issues should be tracked by a cardiologist, so that they do not develop endocarditis, which is an infection of the valves of the heart, that can become serious.
People who suffer from congenital heart disease will always be at risk of contracting endocarditis, even if their heart was replaced or repaired in surgery. In order to prevent this development, cardiologists advise:
Take antibiotics when needed, before undergoing any surgical procedure that could cause you to bleed. This includes dental work (even teeth cleaning), minor surgeries and invasive tests. Your doctor will tell you how much of the antibiotic to take.
Be sure all your various specialists know that you have the heart defect. Carrying a card with this information on it can be helpful.
Call your physician if you have infections like fever, body aches or sore throat.
Take proper care of your gums and teeth to keep infections away. Visit your dentist at least once a year.