Congenital Heart Disease, Symptoms and Treatment
Congenital heart disease or congenital heart anomaly is the abnormality of heart that a person is born with. Congenital heart disease is the main reason for stillbirth and it contributes to the majority of birth defects. Intensity and symptoms of congenital heart disease vary from person to person. The disease can be fatal or it does not show any symptoms at all. Sometimes the patient shows symptoms when he is born, but sometimes it takes years.
What is a congenital heart disease?
Congenital heart disease can be of several types. It can be due to the abnormalities in the heart vessels, heart septum or cardiac muscles.
- Abnormalities of blood vessels
Blood is transported throughout the body by blood vessels. Oxygenated blood from the lungs is transported to heart and the heart pumps blood to tissues. Deoxygenated blood or the blood with metabolic waste is transported back to lungs through the heart. A defect in a blood vessel can hamper the proper transport of blood and tissues faces scarcity of oxygen. Normal metabolic activities by tissues do not occur since enough oxygen is not available. A severe problem in the heart vessel can lead to the death of the fetus before birth.
- Holes in heart septum
The human heart has four chambers. Each chamber is separated by a septum. A septum is nothing but a wall made of cardiac muscle. When the septum has holes, it leads to a mixing of oxygenated and deoxygenated blood.
- Defects in cardiac muscle
The heart is made of cardiac muscle tissue. Normal Pumping of the heart is facilitated by the cardiac muscle. Abnormal cardiac muscle results in the abnormal pumping of the heart. The heart is the most important vital organ in the human body. A small defect in the heart can lead to serious problems.
What are the causes of congenital heart disease?
The main reason behind the condition is still unknown. This can be a genetically transferred disease. There are several risk factors associated with congenital heart disease.
- Viral infection: Rubella infection in mother is found be a reason for congenital heart disease in a child.
- Hereditary: if there are cardiac disorders running in your family, there is a chance a child in the family may be affected with congenital heart disease.
- Alcohol and smoking: If a pregnant woman uses alcohol or tobacco, the development of the fetal heart will not occur properly.
- Medication: some drugs used by mother are also a risk factor of congenital heart disease.
Symptoms vary from person to person and depend on the age of the patient. There are cases where there are no visible symptoms. Symptoms in elders include
- Shortness of breath
- Difficulty while exercising.
- Abnormal heart rhythm
- Heart infection
Symptoms in children include
- Cyanosis: it is the blue coloration of skin, nail, and lips due to the lack of oxygen in certain tissues.
- Poor weight gaining
- Poor feeding
- Being fatigue without any reason
- Inability to play
- Fast breathing
When to consult a doctor?
Most times congenital heart disease is diagnosed before birth. Therefore, before delivery itself, doctors can start treating. You should immediately seek medical help when you notice any symptoms. Being negligent to the symptoms can lead to further complications like heart failure and stroke.
- Ultrasound scanning of the fetus
- MRI scanning
- Cardiac catheterization
Some patients do not need any treatments but some patients will have to treat for their entire life.
- Medicines like diuretics are prescribed to increase the contraction of the heart
- A minimally invasive surgery
- Patients with several and complex cardiac abnormalities will need to undergo several major surgeries.
- Always carry a card with all the information about your disease when you consult a physician for any medical care.
- Avoid infection of gums and teeth
- Consult a doctor when you notice any kind of infections in your body
- Consult your cardiac specialist regularly
- Do not go for intense exercise