When most people hear about cardiovascular disease and defects they might think about adults. Although heart disease is very common in adults—in fact it is one of the leading causes of death—defects can happen in children as well. The defects in children have less to do with the child's lifestyle and more to do with genetics and factors beyond their control. But just like adults, the earlier you can detect and catch heart problems, the more likely you are to have a positive outcome. Here are some signs that your child might have some sort of heart defect.
1. Skin Discoloration
If the child is not getting enough oxygen, their skin will suffer. You might notice that the skin has a blue or gray look to it. It may be faint, since it is not necessarily enough to make them stop breathing—their blood just isn't getting enough oxygen, so the skin, especially the lips, turns blue while the child is doing normal activities.
If you notice this, you need to have the child rest and get them medical attention.
2. Swelling In The Extremities
Another sign that the heart is unable to work correctly is that the extremities of the child will swell more than they should. Swelling is not normal in children, so if your child continually has swollen feet or hands, you should seek further medical attention to rule out a heart condition.
3. Exhaustion During Normal Activities
Most children have an abundance of energy. They cannot sit still, run laps around their parents, and have an overall zeal for life that cannot be matched. However, a child with a heart defect will not be able to do these kinds of activities. Even something like eating can be seriously exhausting to them. The child will avoid activities that require massive amounts of exertion and will need to take lots of breaks when playing.
4. Poor Weight Gain
Lastly, if your child is failing to thrive, or cannot gain weight, this may be a sign that there is a heart condition. Poor weight gain is a sign of many other illnesses as well, so this alone cannot prove that there is a heart condition, but if you notice the small frame, mixed with the other symptoms mentioned here, it would be worth talking your child to a specialist to learn about potential causes.
By discovering the problem early on, you will have a better chance of treating it so that the child can live a normal life. Contact a children's cardiologist at a medical center like Alpert Zales & Castro Pediatric Cardiology for additional information.