More facts, mythologies on congenital heart defects in children
Myth #1: Children are Innocent and Do Not Suffer Heart Diseases! Truth: Heart diseases are more frequent in children and the causes are more diverse than in adults. Also, some heart diseases (acquired and congenital) in adults originate during childhood
Myth #2: Congenital heart defects (CHDs) in children are mainly “holes in the heart, which do not pose any danger because they close naturally.
Truth: There are over 40 different types of heart defects of varying seriousness and complexity ranging from simple types to immediately life-threatening or fatal complex types. Common examples include holes in different areas of the heart, obstructed major blood vessels, narrow or leaky heart valves. Every suspected heart defect including hole in the heart should be referred promptly to a Paediatric Cardiologist.
Myth #3: Many children who are born with a CHDs do not survive to adulthood. Truth: Today, in developed countries, most children who are born with complex heart defects survive, and survive well, into adulthood because they are identified, treated early and followed up after treatment.
CHD can be Prevented and Controlled by
• ensuring adolescent girls, women of child bearing age and mothers have a healthy, balanced, nutritious diet including a wide variety of vegetables and fruit; and maintain a healthy weight;
• preparing for pregnancy and maintaining preconception physical, emotional and nutrition health; undertaking gynaecological and wellness examination, and taking a multivitamin daily that includes the recommended 400mcg of folic acid and other essential B vitamins;
• ensuring mothers avoid harmful medications and substances including alcohol and tobacco;
• avoidance of travel by pregnant women (and sometimes women of child-bearing age) to regions experiencing outbreaks of infections known to be associated with congenital anomalies;
• reducing or eliminating environmental exposure to hazardous substances (such as pesticides) during pregnancy;
• controlling diabetes prior to and during pregnancy through counselling,
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