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Heart Disease In Children: Everything You Need To Know

Heart Disease In Children

Usually heart diseases in children go undetected

Heart diseases, to most people, are a problem of the elderly. Infants and adolescents seem to be safe from these ailments. If you were also a part of the popular belief group, the next statement may come to you by surprise. Heart diseases in children are more common than you know! Yes, your little bundle of joy could also be dealing with a heart disease and you could still be unaware of it. And the worst part is that these heart diseases in children usually go unrecognized. This can either be fatal for the kids at a young age or could give them an uncomfortable life ahead. But the silver lining to this cloud is the fact that most of these diseases can be rectified if diagnosed in time. It is possible to work towards these heart diseases in children to give kids a normal life ahead.

Pediatric Cardioloigist Dr Rajesh Sharma, sheds some light on the types and causes of heart diseases in children. He says, "Heart diseases in children are of two types; congenital and degenerative. Congenital heart diseases are developed when the child is developing in the mother's womb. These are diagnosed around 16 to 18 weeks of gestation. But majority of these are diagnosed when the child is born. The degenerative heart diseases, on the other hand, are characterized by degeneration of the heart's structure, commonly the valve. The precursor to these could be infection like rheumatic heart disease or it could be due to inflammation caused by connective tissue disorder. It could also be due to abnormal heart structural disorder. This is when the structure of the heart degenerates over time. The third situation is infection inside the heart or endocarditis. This one is pretty serious and is mostly seen in adolescents engaged in drug abuse. Kids who use needles and puncture themselves with unsterilized techniques are more likely to develop these infections. These are the three main categories of heart diseases in children."

While speaking to NDTV, Dr Rajesh explained the many causes of heart diseases in children. Take a look:

1. Congenital heart diseases in children are not triggered. It is what the child is born with. For majority of these diseases, the actual causes are still not known. 20% of these take place due to drug abuse in the mother. This could have an impact on the developing baby's heart.

2. The degenerative heart problems take place when a child catches an infection. Majority of these cases are blamed on throat infections. If a three year or four year sleeps around too many people, and if one of these people has a throat infection, the child may also contract the disease. The most common bacteria which cause throat infection are streptococci. The bacterial coating of this reacts with the immune system and this triggers the rheumatic heart disease.

3. Majority of the heart infection cases in adolescents are blamed upon drug abuse.

4. In children, it takes place due to an older underlying heart problem which over time develops into a heart infection.

Dr Sharma also says that depending on the type of heart disease a child has, it will start to show at a different stage in life. Kids born with heart problems can show the signs right after birth. Some can show the symptoms within 30 days of life to six months of age; and some can show the symptoms from six months of age to four years of life. In only rare cases, the heart disease shows after four years of age, especially the congenital diseases. The heart problems which show right after birth are the complex heart problems and need medical attention immediately.

"A subset of children, who have a single ventricle which pumps blood into the lungs and the body, such children need three surgeries in life. However, even after going through three successful surgeries, the child is not likely to survive after 30 years of age."

Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.

Story Credit: https://www.ndtv.com/health/heart-disease-in-children-everything-you-need-to-know-1874147