Unfortunately, heart problems can appear not only in adults – every year cases of cardiac abnormalities are more and more common in infancy and childhood. Even careful and scrupulous observation during pregnancy and compliance with all recommendations of an obstetrician-gynecologist does not guarantee a favorable cardiogenesis for a future baby – ultrasound diagnostics cannot always reveal minor abnormalities that will indicate problems, therefore 100% exclude cases of congenital anomalies in the heart is impossible. Yes, and acquired problems with the cardiovascular system are not uncommon in modern pediatrics: frequent colds, sore throat, flu, and other seemingly unconnected diseases can put a serious strain on the heart muscle, causing all kinds of abnormalities in children.
Therefore, it is extremely important to determine in time how well the baby’s heart works and, at the slightest suspicion of a violation, to seek help from an experienced cardiologist in order to rule out the possibility of serious abnormalities. What to look for when evaluating a child’s cardiovascular system? What symptoms are considered alarm bells to signal a heart problem? The basics of self-diagnosing children’s cardiac disorders will help to deal with these exciting questions.
Risk factors contributing to the development of cardiac problems in babies
Heart disease can occur by itself – it is not necessary that they were preceded by any violations. However, it is worthwhile to be especially wary if the following situations were observed in the history of the pregnancy and mother’s the infant’s infant:
- The presence of chronic diseases in the mother. Pregnancy is a huge stress for the woman’s body, so it’s not surprising that in these 9 months all, even hidden problems are exacerbated. Such pathologies affect not only the well-being of the future mother, but also the features of the child’s development, and it is the cardiovascular system that is one of the first to suffer.
- Infectious processes during pregnancy. Severe viral load directly affects the heart of the fetus, so future moms should be careful in the period of seasonal morbidity and in contact with the diseased, especially in the first trimester, when the formation and formation of baby organs take place.
- Harmful habits of the mother. Drinking alcohol, narcotic drugs, smoking during gestation can be a “trigger” for developing heart problems, so all negative effects should be excluded – only this way you can increase the likelihood of giving birth to a healthy baby.
- Heavy labor. Heart problems in newborns associated with complications during childbirth reach 40% of the total number of cases. Moreover, it is rather difficult to ensure against such a turn of events: the only thing you can do is to regularly visit a gynecologist, go through all routine examinations and prepare correctly for the process of delivery.
- Bad environmental situation. Statistics show that babies living in polluted industrial areas are much more likely to experience heart disease than their peers from rural areas.
- Social environment. The babies from intrauterine life begin to feel the stresses and nervous shocks occurring around. If an unfavorable psychological situation reigns in the family, the mother experiences tension during the pregnancy, and then the newborn, it is not surprising that the baby will later face heart diseases.
Any negative emotion, stress, and negativity affect the sensitive vessels of the infant, so the primary task of the parents is to eliminate all the annoying factors that can trigger cardiac disorders.
Signs indicating congenital heart problems
Babies who have just been born cannot yet complain about the characteristic pain behind the sternum, bouts of arrhythmia and other symptoms associated with children’s heart disease. However, attentive parents and experienced pediatricians can recognize the presence of problems by the characteristic signs that will be observed in the baby:
- Low weight gain Many congenital abnormalities of the cardiac system manifest themselves primarily as a delay in physical development, the most obvious factor in which is an adequate weight gain. If a child with good nutrition in the first months of life adds less than 400 grams, it looks sluggish, weakened and haggard, it is worth urgently to visit a cardiologist – in this case only a thorough examination will help confirm or deny the exciting diagnosis.
- Cyanosis of the skin. Poor blood supply to the peripheral vessels and various vascular anomalies lead to a low supply of oxygen to the skin, due to which it acquires a pronounced violet-bluish tint. Cyanosis can cover the whole body and can manifest itself only in the most sensitive areas (nasolabial triangle, on the lips, under the fingernails, etc.), but in any case, having noticed such a symptom, it is worth checking the child’s heart condition.
- Dyspnea. Frequency and depth of breathing will also help to recognize cardiac problems. If the baby breathes superficially, shallowly and often, but at the same time he has no respiratory and catarrhal diseases, you should pay attention to the cardiovascular system – in some cases this is how cardiac disorders occur.
- Tachycardia. The most obvious sign that helps to understand whether the crumbs deviations in the work of the heart, is the heart rate (heart rate). Normally, a newborn’s pulse up to 3 months varies in the range of 100-150, decreasing to half a year to 90-120 beats per minute. By measuring this indicator over time, one can assess how well the heart copes with the function assigned to it.
- Fast fatiguability. If the crumb sucks weakly, shows no interest in food, looks tired and does not want to move actively (naturally, in accordance with age norms), you should think about the upcoming visit to the pediatrician. Such behavior may be a characteristic feature of the child’s psycho-type, or it may signal the presence of heart problems.
- Noise in the heart. On examination, each pediatrician always listens to the work of the heart and blood vessels in order to exclude the presence of noises and other pathological sounds. At the slightest suspicion of pathology, echocardiography is appointed, which can more thoroughly determine the nature of the noise that has arisen. Organic sounds help to recognize serious malformations, and functional indications of the rapid growth of the organism, therefore, should not frighten parents.
Symptoms of diseases of the cardiovascular system in children of preschool and school age
Older children can already tell their parents what discomfort they are worried about, so it’s easier to understand whether the cardiovascular system is working properly. The reason for concern, in this case, maybe:
- Discomfort, tenderness in the chest. If a child complains that he has a pain in the chest, there is a feeling of heaviness and pressure – you should definitely turn to a cardiologist. Do not forget that the child can not clearly articulate their feelings: some say that the chest aches, others describe the pain as a burning sensation, others complain of heaviness and discomfort, and it can manifest itself both during exercise and in a state of absolute rest. Therefore, for any of the possible problems you need to be vigilant.
- Stomach problems. Often children confuse heart pain with gastric disorders. If the baby complains of heartburn, bloating, nausea and the attacks manifest quite often and are not associated with a change in diet – this can serve as an indicator of cardiopathology.
- Frequent bouts of vertigo. In principle, weakness and dizziness are completely unrelated to vascular anomalies – perhaps the child simply ate poorly or reacted too violently to the change of weather. However, often repeated cases, especially long-lasting or accompanied by fainting, should alert attentive parents – this may say that the heart does not cope with the blood supply of the body.
- Pain extending to the left hand. This symptom speaks of serious and prolonged heart problems, which, however, are found not only in adults but also in children. If discomfort affects the sternum, the left shoulder, and arm, it is urgent to sound the alarm.
- Cold sweat. Severe sweating is most often associated with a decrease in immunity, but if cold, clammy sweat appears for no apparent reason, you may suspect heart problems in your child.
- Snore. Normally, the child should not make loud noises during sleep. If he snores, sniffs or whistles, but at the same time nasal breathing is not difficult, perhaps you should pay attention to the state of his cardiovascular system, undergo additional examination and pass tests.
- Coughing. Most often, cough syndrome accompanies colds, but if the virus is defeated, and the cough does not want to go away, it is worth considering whether enough oxygen is received by the lungs – this condition can be directly related to heart or vascular abnormalities.
- Puffiness The appearance of edema is more characteristic of adults who are accustomed to eating the wrong diet, while in babies this symptom is a clear sign of ill health. If the heart pumps blood not as intensively as the growing organism requires, fluid begins to stagnate in the limbs, which leads to swelling.
- Fatigue. Usually, the amount of children’s energy can only be envied – small “energizers” are ready to jump, run and ride around the clock. If the crumb abandons outdoor games, suffers from shortness of breath or weakness even with a little physical exertion and tries to avoid classes that require a certain amount of activity, is it a feature of his character or an alarming symptom?
Diseases associated with cardiac activity, occupy one of the leading positions among children’s pathologies. Therefore, it is necessary to take care of the heart from infancy, to carefully monitor its health and, at the slightest suspicion, to visit the attending physician – such forethought can save you from more serious cardiac disorders!