Heart Problems in Children

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Heart Problems in Children

If you thought that heart problems were only for adults, then you are actually unaware that even kids can fall prey to heart problems. Although the problems are rare, they are indeed a matter of concern.

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Heart Problems in Children
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Heart Problems in Children

There are two types of heart problems that affect children. One is congenital, which is by birth and the other is acquired or due to an unhealthy lifestyle or infection. Congenital heart disease is when a child is born with an abnormally-structured heart. Congenital Heart Defect (CHD) is actually the defect in the structure of the heart and blood vessels of a new born. It is one of the most commonly occurring heart defects in children. Being a defect by birth, congenital heart defect cannot be helped much. The mother can take extra care while the child is in the womb.

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Heart Problems in Children
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Heart Problems in Children

There are two types of acquired heart diseases. Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD) and Kawasaki disease.

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Heart Problems in Children
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Heart Problems in Children

Rheumatic heart disease is a condition of damaged heart valves. It is caused by rheumatic fever, a result of untreated bacterial infection. If a child is suffering from fever, he should be immediately treated so that he does not become a victim of RHD. RHD is caused by streptococcal bacteria.

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Heart Problems in Children
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Heart Problems in Children

Primary prevention of acute rheumatic fever is achieved by treatment of acute throat infections caused by group A streptococcus. Ten days of an oral antibiotic (usually penicillin) or a single intramuscular penicillin injection can help in the prevention of RHD. Surgery is often required for patients who have severely damaged valves.

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Heart Problems in Children
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Heart Problems in Children

The symptoms of Kawasaki disease include fever, swollen hands and feet, blood shot eyes, swollen lymph nodes and inflammation of the blood vessels, especially the coronary arteries. It occurs in young children, especially those less than 5 years. Studies have shown that it largely affects boys as compared to girls.

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Heart Problems in Children
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Heart Problems in Children

Kawasaki disease is very common in Japan, but it is also found in other countries. If it is not diagnosed on time or left untreated, then it may cause serious damage to the heart. 

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Heart Problems in Children
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Heart Problems in Children

It is important to notice what children eat. Parents should make sure that children eat healthy. Physical hygiene of children should be kept in mind. 

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Heart Problems in Children
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