Congenital heart disease is something that you are born with, that causes one or more problems with the heart’s structure. It gets its name from the fact that congenital means being born with the defect. Congenital Heart Disease, changes how the blood flows through your heart. Some congenital heart defects can cause serious issues, while other defects cause no problems at all. Despite this, it is important to have an evaluation done to ensure no life-threatening complications occur.
Congenital heart disease is a problem that is not with a known cause. Some congenital heart diseases are inherited, while others are not. There have been many advances in diagnosis as well as treatment, which has allowed those who are born with congenital heart disease to live long lives. What is interesting, is that sometimes, signs and symptoms of congenital heart disease are not seen until you reach adulthood. Most people who are diagnosed with congenital heart disease will need care for the rest of their lives.
Symptoms of Congenital Heart Disease
Some congenital heart defects do not have signs or symptoms. In some cases, you may start to see signs later in life, or you may have treatment that gets rid of your symptoms, only for them to come back later.
Common congenital heart disease symptoms in adults include:
- Arrhythmias: Abnormal heart rhythms
- Cyanosis: When the skin obtains a bluish tint
- Shortness of breath
- Tiring quickly
- Edema: Swelling of body tissue or organs
When to See a Doctor
If you’re having bad symptoms, such as chest pain, even simple shortness of breath, it is essential to seek attention from a medical professional.
Certain environmental and genetic risk factors are thought to play a role in developing CHD. For example, it may be because of genes. In some cases, congenital heart disease may run in the family. One example is that it is often found that children with Down syndrome have heart defects.
Another risk factor is when a mother develops German measles, also known as rubella, during their pregnancy. This can affect how the baby’s heart develops while in the womb. The same can be said regarding having type 1 or type 2 diabetes during pregnancy. It can lead to a negative development of the baby’s heart.
Certain medications that are taken while pregnant can also cause congenital heart disease and other birth defects. Specifically, those containing lithium for bipolar disorder and isotretinoin are usually used to treat acne. Alcohol is also a huge risk factor for heart defects, along with smoking.
Complications With CHD
Congenital heart disease complications can develop even after receiving treatment. Things such as arrhythmias, endocarditis, stroke, or pulmonary hypertension is common. This is why it is essential to work closely with a healthcare provider.