Various heart problems affect children with congenital heart disease and rheumatic heart disease. Here we will discuss various heart diseases in children.
The heart is very crucial, and it is no wonder when people hear someone has heart problems. Knowing about the heart disease is a tragic experience, whether it strikes adults or children. An estimated one in every 100 children has a heart problem. Usually, heart problems can be treated with medications or surgeries.
Shortness of breath, difficulty feeding, and blue color of the skin and lips are some of the symptoms of heart disease in children. However, a lot of children experience no symptoms, and even their parents don’t know their child has a heart defect. A fact is that many children with heart defects lead an ordinary life.
Heart diseases in children:
A heart defect is a problem in which there is a defect in the walls of the heart like a hole or to the valves. The defect in the heart reflects the heart may not pump well and can lead to further severe issues. When the previously mentioned problems occur, the body may not get as much oxygen as normal. Various factors account for the heart defect conditions including genetics like a family history of the same disease or certain illnesses in childhood that cause damage to the heart. There are other causes too, like viral infections that can cause a heart defect, but this condition is extremely rare.
Below are various heart problems in children, which are as follows:
Congenital heart disease:
Congenital heart disease means that the children are born with heart defects. This condition of the heart defect is common in children, and an estimated eight of every 1,000 children are born with the same. It has been found that some congenital heart defects in children don’t need treatment because of a small hole between heart chambers that closes on its own. However, some congenital heart defects cases are complicated and require several surgeries to treat the condition.
Signs and symptoms of severe congenital heart defects are evident soon after the birth of the child. These include the following:
• Pale gray or blue skin color • Shortness of breath during feedings • Flared nostrils • Rapid breathing • Swelling in the legs, abdomen or areas around the eyes • Grunting when breathing
Various other signs of congenital heart defects, but these are less severe, as the symptoms of it are not diagnosed until later in childhood. These include the following:
• Swelling in the hands, ankles or feet • Short of breath during exercise or activity • Tiredness during exercise or activity
Severe congenital heart defects may have long-term effects on a child’s health and may require treatment. These are usually treated with medications, surgery, and catheter procedures. In the most severe cases, a heart transplant is needed.
The arrhythmia is an abnormal rhythm of the heart that causes the heart to pump less efficiently. Different types of arrhythmias occur in children, and these include the following:
• A fast heart rate (tachycardia)
• A slow heart rate (bradycardia)
• Long Q-T Syndrome (LQTS)
• Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome (WPW syndrome)
Weakness, dizziness, fatigue, fainting, and difficulty feeding are some of the common symptoms of an arrhythmia. However, treatment of this heart problem depends on the type of it and how it’s affecting the child’s health.
As per the American Heart Association (AHA), Kawasaki illness affects about 4,000 children each year under the age of five. Kawasaki heart disease is a rare one among children that causes inflammation in the blood vessels in the hands, mouth, lips, feet, and throat. However, the exact reason of this condition is unknown, but it can be treated with aspirin and sometimes with Corticosteroids.
Rheumatic heart disease:
Rheumatic fever is the main culprit behind rheumatic heart disease. This fever is an inflammatory disorder caused due to a strep throat infection that affects the connective tissues of the body. In some cases, rheumatic fever causes long-term damage to the heart and its valves leading to the rheumatic heart disease.
If left untreated, this disease can permanently damage the heart muscle (myocarditis) and the heart valves. As per the studies, rheumatic fever occurs in children between the ages of five to 15, but the symptoms of it don’t show up for 10 to 20 years. However, rheumatic heart disease in children can be prevented by treating the strep throat with antibiotics. Additional treatment will depend on the type of heart damage.
Conclusion: The condition of heart diseases in children is like a nightmare for the parents. But, advanced medical heart diseases treatment facilities and modern science have created a hope to deal with the illnesses and lead a healthy life.