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What is Congenital heart disease? Know major reasons, measures and precautions

What are the major causes of congenital heart disease (CHD)? Let's examine what causes CHD and what steps can be taken to prevent and manage it.

What is Congenital heart disease? Know major reasons, measures and precautions RBA
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First Published Jun 12, 2024, 7:00 AM IST

Congenital heart disease (CHD) affects the heart's structure and function from birth. While it's a complex condition, there are some common reasons behind its occurrence. Let's explore what causes CHD and what steps can be taken to prevent and manage it.

Causes of Congenital Heart Disease:

·         Genetic Factors: Sometimes, CHD can run in families. If a parent has CHD or a genetic disorder, there's a higher chance their child might inherit it.

·         Environmental Factors: Certain environmental factors, like exposure to toxins or infections during pregnancy, can increase the risk of CHD in babies.

·         Chromosomal Abnormalities: Conditions such as Down syndrome or Turner syndrome are associated with a higher risk of CHD.

·         Maternal Health: Poor maternal health during pregnancy, such as uncontrolled diabetes or obesity, can contribute to the development of CHD in the baby.

·         Medications and Drugs: Some medications or drug use during pregnancy can interfere with fetal development and increase the likelihood of CHD.

What is Congenital heart disease? Know major reasons, measures and precautions RBA

Measures and Precautions:

·         Regular Prenatal Check-ups: It's crucial for expecting mothers to attend regular prenatal check-ups. These visits allow healthcare providers to monitor the baby's development and detect any potential issues early on.

·         Healthy Lifestyle Choices: Maintaining a healthy lifestyle before and during pregnancy can reduce the risk of CHD. This includes eating a balanced diet, staying physically active, and avoiding harmful substances like alcohol and tobacco.

·         Genetic Counseling: If there's a family history of CHD or other genetic conditions, genetic counseling can help prospective parents understand their risk and make informed decisions about family planning.

·         Managing Chronic Conditions: Women with chronic health conditions like diabetes or hypertension should work closely with their healthcare providers to manage these conditions effectively during pregnancy.

·         Avoiding Harmful Exposures: Pregnant women should avoid exposure to harmful substances like tobacco smoke, certain medications, and environmental toxins that could potentially harm the developing fetus.

·         Early Intervention and Treatment: If CHD is diagnosed in a baby, early intervention and treatment are crucial. This may involve medications, surgery, or other interventions to correct heart defects and improve the baby's overall health.

What is Congenital heart disease? Know major reasons, measures and precautions RBA

In conclusion, while congenital heart disease can have various causes, there are steps that can be taken to reduce the risk and manage the condition effectively. By prioritizing prenatal care, healthy lifestyle choices, and early intervention, parents and healthcare providers can work together to promote the health and well-being of babies born with CHD.

-Dr. Rajesh Bhat U, Consultant Cardiology, KMC Hospital, Mangalore

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