Cardiovascular Disease (CVD), also known as heart disease, is a serious, complex and potentially life-threatening condition that affects millions of people worldwide all ages. Unfortunately, this condition can also affect children. It’s important to know the symptoms, causes and treatments for this condition in kids, to ensure they are kept healthy and safe.
What is Cardiovascular Disease?
Cardiovascular Disease, or CVD, is an umbrella term for various types of heart and blood vessel diseases, including:
- Arrhythmia – a disruption of normal heart rhythm
- Hypertension – high blood pressure
- Atherosclerosis – hardening of the arteries due to deposits of cholesterol and fatty material in the artery walls.
These conditions can be mild or very serious, and can lead to heart attack, stroke and other health problems.
What Causes Cardiovascular Disease in Kids?
Though there’s no one specific cause of cardiovascular disease in kids, certain risk factors can contribute to a greater likelihood of CVD in children:
- Family history – Having a parent or grandparent with a history of heart disease can increase the chances of developing CVD.
- Smoking or secondhand smoke exposure – smoking cigarettes or being exposed to second-hand smoke can lead to blockage in the blood vessels.
- Diet and exercise – Eating a diet that is high in fat and cholesterol, while also having a sedentary lifestyle, can increase the risk of CVD.
- High stress levels – Stress can cause an elevation in heart rate and blood pressure, which can lead to cardiovascular issues.
What are the Symptoms of Cardiovascular Disease in Kids?
Many kids don’t even show any symptoms of cardiovascular disease. That’s why it’s important to talk to your doctor if you think your child may be at risk. Common symptoms of CVD in children include:
- Fatigue – feeling tired very easily
- Shortness of breath – having trouble breathing or feeling like you can’t catch your breath
- Chest pain – having pain in your chest area that can be described as tightness, burning or crushing
- Palpitations – feeling like your heart is pounding
How is Cardiovascular Disease in Kids Treated?
Treatment of CVD in kids depends on the type and severity of the condition. Common treatments include:
- Medication – Certain medications such as ACE inhibitors, beta blockers, and diuretics can help reduce blood pressure and improve overall heart health.
- Lifestyle changes – Eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and reducing stress levels can help to improve cardiovascular health.
- Surgery – In some cases, surgery may be necessary to repair or replace damaged or blocked arteries.
Maintaining Heart Health in Kids
It’s important to take steps to ensure your child maintains a healthy heart, including:
- Creating healthy habits – Help your child develop healthy habits like eating a well-balanced diet, exercising regularly and getting plenty of sleep.
- Limiting unhealthy habits – Help your child limit unhealthy habits such as smoking, drinking and drug use, which can all contribute to CVD.
- Talking to your doctor – Regularly discuss your child’s health with their doctor and watch for any warning signs or symptoms of CVD.
Cardiovascular Disease is a serious condition that can affect children of all ages. Knowing the symptoms, potential causes and treatments of CVD can help you ensure your child stays healthy and safe. Finally, it is important to create and maintain healthy behaviors to reduce the risk of heart disease in kids.
- Cardiovascular Disease
- Heart Disease