Diagnosing and Evaluating Heart Disease in Children
Congenital Heart Disease
Rheumatic Heart Disease
Problems Affecting the Coronary Arteries and Blood Vessels
Problems Involving Heart Rhythm
Most people only think of middle-aged adults or the elderly as being affected by heart disease. Children are usually thought of as having healthy hearts. Nine out of every 1,000 babies born in the US are born with a congenital heart abnormality. It is estimated that one third of these babies require intervention to prevent death in the first year of life. Approximately 1.3 million people living in the US today were born with a congenital heart defect, and at least half of these individuals are under age 25.
Some heart problems experienced by children, such as most cases of congenital (present at birth) heart defects, can be treated medically or surgically, but cannot be prevented.
However, heart-healthy living habits started at an early age - sensible eating, keeping cholesterol levels low, getting regular exercise, refraining from smoking, and maintaining a healthy weight - greatly diminish the risks of other cardiovascular problems such as stroke, high blood pressure, and coronary artery disease developing in adulthood. Heart-healthy living is very important for children born with heart defects to prevent complications from medical and surgical treatments that may be required throughout adolescence and adulthood.
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