The Signs, Symptoms, and Treatment of Congenital Heart Disease

Heart failure

One in every four deaths in the U.S. can be attributed to heart disease. Unfortunately, a good portion of these deaths are due to congenital heart disease.

What is congenital heart disease?
Congenital heart disease, also commonly referred to as a congenital heart defect, or CHD, is characterized as a birth defect. Someone with congenital heart disease is born with a heart that is abnormally formed in some way structurally.

Congenital Heart Disease Symptoms
Where once many babies would die of CHD, advances in cardiology have made new surgeries possible that allow children born with CHD to live long lives. However, this also means that CHD can come back with a vengeance during adulthood. Signs and symptoms to watch out for when you’re older include:

– Heart rhythm disorder (arrhythmias)
– A blue tinge to the skin
– Shortness of breath
– Becoming tired quickly after light exertion
– Fainting, dizziness, vertigo
– Swelling in the tissue or organs (edema)

Risk Factors for Congenital Heart Disease
You might be more prone to congenital heart disease if any of the following circumstances apply to you:
– Your mother had rubella
– Your mother had either type of diabetes
– Your mother or you are on certain medications for acne or bipolar disorder
– Your mother drank alcohol while pregnant
– Heredity

Treatments for Congenital Heart Disease

Fortunately, we live in an age where many a heart specialist can offer treatments for CHD. Some of these treatments include:

– Regular check-up visits to your doctor. This is most appropriate if your heart defect is minor.
– Blood thinning medications
– Devices and catheters that are implanted to monitor and correct the heart.
– Surgery and/or heart transplant

If you think you have a heart condition…
If you noticed any of the symptoms on the above list, then it is vitally important that you schedule an appointment with your doctor immediately. For one thing, this proactive measure will likely save you costs in the future because you’re avoiding the costs of an emergency room trip. There are some ways you can prepare for your appointment to make it as productive as possible. For one thing, make sure to ask whoever you schedule the appointment with if there are pre-appointment restrictions. For example, if you’re getting any imaging done, they might ask you to restrict what you eat for a certain amount of time.

Another think that will prove extremely helpful to both you and your doctor is if you write any symptoms you are experiencing down. In keeping with this record-keeping ideal, bring all your past medical records with you from your GP (since you’ll most likely have to see a specialist), and make a list of all the medications you are currently on. Finally, write down questions you have for the doctor, as many patients forget to inquire about things due to heightened anxiety.

Above all, remember you are not alone. Millions of Americans suffer from some sort of heart disease. There is support out there for you if you need it.

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