Diagnosing Heart Disease in Children

iStock_000057711158_Large.jpgThere are many different heart diseases that can be present in children. From arrhythmia to heart murmurs to high blood pressure, it’s important to diagnose heart disease in children as early as possible so treatment can begin. Below are a few of the most common heart diseases in children and how they are diagnosed and treated.

Arrhythmia

The most common arrhythmia happens during breathing as your child may experience his or her heart rate speeding up for a few beats upon inhaling. During exhale the heart rate will slow down. This is called sinus arrhythmia. While this is the most common type of irregular heartbeat, there are other types of arrhythmias in children, as well. Your child’s doctor will want to identify what type of arrhythmia he or she has in order to properly treat it. Most types of rhythm disorders respond to medications; however, there are a number of other treatment options such as surgery or an artificial pacemaker if needed.

Heart Murmurs

Most often, heart murmurs are a result of defective heart valves. Innocent heart murmurs, sounds made by the blood circulating through the chambers and valves of the heart, are common in children and are harmless. When your child’s doctor first hears the murmur, he or she will likely recommend additional testing to ensure the murmur is innocent. Some murmurs are an indication of a bigger problem with the heart in which case your child will be sent to a pediatric cardiologist who can recommend a treatment based on the determined problem.

High Blood Pressure

While most people assume high blood pressure (HBP) is only associated with adults, it can actually be linked to children and even babies. Aside from diet and weight, factors such as heart and kidney disease, as well as certain medications, can lead to HBP. Most children can maintain a healthy life by focusing on a heart-healthy diet, healthy weight and regular physical activity; however, medication can be used when needed.

It’s important that your child receives regular medical exams and bloodwork. For a full medical evaluation, visit Medical City Children’s Hospital Urgent Care to speak with a trained health expert. Designed exclusively to meet the needs of children, Medical City Children’s Hospital Urgent Care provides quick, efficient service so you can avoid the typical hassle of a doctor’s visit.

Disclaimer: Patients’ health can vary. Always consult with a medical professional before taking medication, making health-related decisions or deciding if medical advice is right for you.

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The Importance of Exercise During Pregnancy

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Between morning sickness, weight gain and exhaustion, most women aren’t motivated to exercise much during pregnancy. It can be a struggle to walk to the bathroom, let alone get in a workout. However, there are many benefits to maintaining an exercise routine during pregnancy.

Lower Pregnancy Complication Risks

In a study done in 2012, it was proven that women who worked out four times a week had a lower chance of developing gestational diabetes and were less likely to have an unplanned cesarean section than those who did not exercise.

Lower Delivery Complication Risks

A separate study showed that women who managed to work out three times a week gained less weight while they were pregnant and had a lower chance of having a macrosomic baby (a baby weighing more than nine pounds at birth). A heavier baby can create a higher risk of delivery complications for both mom and baby.

Lower Blood Pressure

While blood pressure can occasionally go up during pregnancy, it’s important to keep an eye on this, as high blood pressure can also be a symptom of preeclampsia. Maintaining an exercise routine during pregnancy can keep blood pressure from rising.

Improve Sleep

Many women struggle to fall asleep during pregnancy. Exercising consistently early in the day can improve the quality of sleep and can make a big difference in the energy level of pregnant women.

Relieve Constipation

Exercise as short as a 10-minute walk can encourage active bowels. Most women who suffer from constipation try to take a 30-minute walk daily to keep themselves regular.

If you have questions about maintaining an exercise routine during pregnancy, it’s a good idea to contact a medical professional. Trained health experts at Medical City Children’s Hospital Urgent Care are available to answer questions you may have. At Medical City Children’s Hospital Urgent Care, we provide quick, efficient service so you can avoid the typical hassle of a doctor’s visit. Be sure to use the online check in to avoid the waiting room.

Disclaimer: Patients’ health can vary. Always consult with a medical professional before taking medication, making health-related decisions or deciding if medical advice is right for you.

Four Common Childhood Skin Problems

iStock_000016531324_Double.jpgIt’s not uncommon for your child to come home with a welt, rash or bump. Most of the time, these skin abnormalities aren’t a big deal and can be treated easily. However, sometimes these skin problems do require medical treatment. Read on to learn about the most common childhood skin problems and when you should seek a true medical diagnoses and treatment.

    1. Ringworm: Caused by a fungus that survives off hair, dead skin and nail tissue, ringworm begins as a red, scaly patch or bump. Before long, this patch becomes an itchy red ring with raised, blistery borders. Contagious by skin-to-skin contact with a person or animal, ringworm should be treated with antifungal creams.
    2. Chickenpox: Once very common, chickenpox are seen less and less often these days thanks to the chickenpox vaccination. However, this disease is extremely contagious with an itchy rash and red spots or blisters as the No. 1 symptom. The stages of said spots go from blistering to bursting to drying and finally to crusting all over. Because chickenpox can be a very serious disease, it’s important that your child is vaccinated at the appropriate age.
    3. Warts: These pesky skin growths are caused by a virus and can be easily spread from person to person. Most commonly, warts grow on fingers and hands, but can be found anywhere on the body. To treat warts, cover with bandages. Most warts will go away in time; however, some will require freezing from a dermatologist.
    4. Hand-Foot-Mouth Disease: This is a very common childhood illness. Beginning with a fever, painful mouth sores and a non-itchy rash, this illness is spread through coughing, sneezing and used diapers. As the illness progresses, the rash will usually blister on hands, feet and occasionally on the buttocks and legs. To prevent the spreading of this illness, wash hands often. Hand-Foot-Mouth Disease will normally go away on its’ own within a week.

If your child has a concerning skin abnormality, it’s a good idea to get it checked out immediately. In some cases, early diagnosis can prevent full symptoms from occurring. Visit your closest Medical City Children’s Hospital Urgent Care to speak with a trained health expert. Designed exclusively to meet the needs of children, Medical City Children’s Hospital Urgent Care provides quick, efficient service so you can avoid the typical hassle of a doctor’s visit. Be sure to use the online check in to avoid the waiting room.

Disclaimer: Patients’ health can vary. Always consult with a medical professional before taking medication, making health-related decisions or deciding if medical advice is right for you or your child.

Expectant Mothers and the Zika Virus

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For pregnant women, news of the Zika virus in the United States can be a scary thing. First appearing in Uganda in 1947, the virus is strongly connected with birth defects that cause an abnormally underdeveloped head and brain in infants. For expecting mothers, it’s important to stay informed on how the virus is spread and how to prevent it.

How it is spread: The Zika virus is spread two main ways: through Zika-infected mosquito bites and sexual contact from a person who is infected with the Zika virus. For pregnant women expecting to be out in an area with high exposure to mosquitoes, use an insect repellant, wear clothes that cover your skin and stay in screened-in areas when possible. Also, avoid sexual contact with anyone who has been in an area where the Zika virus is prevalent.

How it is diagnosed: There are currently few tests for Zika; however, if you’ve recently come back from an outbreak area and are exhibiting symptoms, your doctor may suggest getting tested through a state or local health department. A doctor will want to know your recent travel history and whether or not you’ve been in contact with someone who has visited a high-outbreak area. You will also be asked if you’re experiencing typical symptoms of the virus, such as fever, rash, joint pain or red eyes.

How it affects your pregnancy: Pregnant women who develop the Zika virus are likely to give birth to babies with small heads and incomplete brain development. This defect, called microcephaly, causes facial distortions, developmental disabilities, short stature, difficulties with balance and coordination, speech problems and seizures.

If you are pregnant and are worried you’ve developed the Zika virus, contact your OB/GYN immediately to determine further evaluation and treatment.