Causes Of Congenital Heart Disease

By: JoannC
The term "congenital" means inborn or present at birth. So it's understandable that congenital heart disease is a health problem that is present since birth. You may often hear the terms congenital heart defect or congenital cardiovascular disease, but all means the same : a serious health problem that affects thousands of newborns worldwide.

Such disease is said to be present in about one percent of the total live births. It is manifested by a structural defect in the heart and happens when the heart does not develop normally prior to birth. The defects may occur in the heart walls, valves, veins and arteries near the organ. It becomes severe when it starts to disrupt or block the normal flow of the blood and oxygen to the heart, causing the heart to weaken and the heart muscles to die with lack of oxygen.

Doctors found no concrete evidence to show the real cause of congenital heart disease. However, there are certain conditions that may contribute to the development. These include:

* Diabetic mother
* History of the disease in the family
* German measles
* Toxoplasmosis, which is an infection that is transmitted through contact with cat feces
* HIV infection in the mother
* Use of alcohol during pregnancy
* Intake of cocaine and other drugs during pregnancy
* Use of certain prescription and over-the-counter drugs during pregnancy

It is worth noting that although one or more of these conditions are present prior to birth, it doesn't mean that the baby will be born with a congenital heart disease. In the same way, several studies have noted that babies can be born with certain heart defects even if none of the mentioned conditions are present. If this is really the case, then it could be rare for families to exactly identify if their babies will be born with or without such disease. This also means that families can't do anything to prevent their babies from developing such condition. But still, there's nothing wrong from avoiding such contributing factors of congenital heart defects. Mothers should still avoid drugs, alcohol and exposure to the German measles and some environmental toxins, not just for the unborn she is carrying, but also for herself.

Today, the disease is identified in a number of types, and much to your surprise, more than one heart defect may be present at the same time. Among the most common and most treated types of defects are atrial septal defect (ASD), pulmonary stenosis, Ebstein's anomaly, aortic stenosis, ventricular septal defect (VSD), tetralogy of fallot, transposition of the great arteries, and a lot more. Note that each of these types are treated individually, depending on the type and severity of the case.
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