Many different types of heart problems can affect kids and teenagers. These include congenital heart defects, childhood heart diseases caused by illnesses or genetic syndromes, and other similar conditions. However, these illnesses can be treated with many kids and teens going on to live active, full lives. This article covers different types of heart diseases affecting young people and how doctors can treat them.
Congenital Heart Disease
Congenital heart disease (CHD) is a type of heart disease that happens due to heart defects that happen at birth. According to the CDC, an estimated 1% of babies born yearly have this condition.
CHDs affecting kids and teens can include:
● Heart valve disorders, such as narrowing of the aortic valve, which restrict blood flow
● Hypoplastic left heart syndrome, where the left side of the heart is underdeveloped.
This disease can be treated with surgery, medications, heart transplants, and catheter procedures.
Arrhythmia is an abnormal rhythm of the heart. Different types of arrhythmias that can affect children include:
● Tachycardia, i.e., a fast heart rate,
● Bradycardia, i.e., a slow heart rate
● Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome
Symptoms of this condition include:
Doctors can treat arrhythmia by using medications or surgery to implant devices that control the child’s heartbeat.
Atherosclerosis happens when fat and cholesterol-filled plaques build up inside the child’s arteries. As the buildup increases, the arteries become stiff and narrow. This increases the risk of blood clots and heart attacks.
Some health issues and other factors can increase the risk of getting atherosclerosis, including:
● Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes
● Metabolic syndrome
Doctors can treat this condition with increased exercise and dietary changes.
A heart murmur is the sound of blood circling through the heart’s chambers or valves. It is often harmless, but it could indicate a cardiovascular condition. It can also develop into:
Doctors can treat heart murmurs with medications to slow the thyroid gland. Doctors can also use surgery to correct or replace a heart valve.
Pericarditis happens when the thin membrane surrounding the heart (pericardium) gets infected or inflamed. This increases the fluid between its two layers and stops the heart from pumping blood naturally. Pericarditis can be caused by the following:
● Bacterial, viral, and fungal infections
● Surgery to repair a CHD
● Autoimmune diseases such as lupus
Pericarditis treatments depend on the patient’s age, overall health, and the disease’s severity. Common medical options include painkillers and anti-inflammatory medicines such as colchicine.
Kids and teens are affected by many heart diseases, but treatments can help them live a full and active life. You must consult your doctor if your child shows any symptoms of a heart condition. Examples include chest pain, shortness of breath, and fast or uneven heartbeat.