It’s a known statistics that heart disease is a leading cause of death for adults, but most don’t realize there are several types of heart problems that affect children as well. These heart problems include congenital heart disease, viral infections and genetic syndrome-related heart disease. But how do you identify heart disease in children? First off, it depends on the type of disease. Below are the types of heart problems commonly affecting children and how they can be identified.
Congenital Heart Diease
Congenital heart disease ranks as the most common birth defect in the United States. With an estimated 40,000 cases each year, CHD affects nearly 1 in 100 babies. Usually, CHD involves an issue with the heart muscle or valves, including narrowing of the aortic valve or defects in the wall that separates the left and right sides of the heart. Symptoms of congenital heart disease in children include rapid breathing, swelling in legs, abdomen and area around the eyes, shortness of breath and flared nostrils.
It’s not well known that viruses can affect heart health, but a viral infection can create inflammation in the heart muscle, which affects the ability of the heart to pump blood through the body. Heart problems caused by viral infections can be difficult to identify as symptoms are very similar to those caused by the flu, including fatigue, shortness of breath and chest discomfort.
An abnormal rhythm of the heart, known as an arrhythmia, may appear in children in the form of a fast heart rate, a slow heart rate, long Q-T syndrome or Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome. Symptoms of a heart arrhythmia include weakness, fatigue, dizziness, fainting and difficulty feeding.
If you believe your child may be suffering from heart disease, consider taking him or her to a doctor as soon as possible. At Medical City Children’s Urgent Care our technicians are highly qualified and will treat your child with the utmost care.
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.