Congenital Heart Disease – Causes & Symptoms

congenital heart diseaseCongenital heart disease is a defect in the structure of your heart which is present at the time of your birth. The defect can be a small hole or something more serious. But most of the defects can be treated with surgery. The defects may be present in the valves of the heart, walls of the heart or arteries & veins near the heart disrupting the normal flow of blood through the heart. As a result, the blood flow will get affected like it may slow down, go to the wrong place or in the wrong direction or can be blocked completely. Doctors can find these defects in the fetus in some cases. Congenital heart disease symptoms may not appear at all or they may not occur until adulthood.

Causes of Congenital Heart Disease

Doctors always do not have a clue as to why congenital heart disease occurs in a baby. But, they tend to run in families. Certain things may increase their chances of occurrence which includes:

  • Consuming alcohol or drug abuse or taking certain medications during pregnancy
  • If the mother gets a viral infection like rubella in the first trimester of pregnancy
  • Presence of defective genes or chromosomes in the child like Down syndrome

Types of Congenital Heart Defects

In most cases, the congenital heart defects usually are holes and leaky valves such as the following:

  • Defects in the heart walls – The defect may be present between the chambers of your heart. Holes may be present on the walls between the left and right side of your heart which causes the blood to mix.
  • Issues with Heart’s muscle – The heart doesn’t pump properly leading to heart failure.
  • Defects in Heart Valve – The valve may be too narrow or completely blocked making it tough for the blood to pass through. In some cases, the blood may leak backward as the valve may not close properly.
  • Poor connections between the blood vessels – This may direct the blood that has to go to the lungs to other body parts or vice versa in infants. These defects may lead to organ failure as blood is deprived of oxygen.

Congenital Heart Disease Symptoms

It is really possible for someone to have a birth defect related to heart and have no symptoms at all. Symptoms may appear in some cases which may include:

  1. Problems due to exercise
  2. Shortness of breath

Some of the congenital heart disease symptoms that occur in infants and children may include the following:

  • Inability to exercise
  • Poor weight gain
  • A bluish tint to the lips, skin and fingernails caused by the lack of pure blood.
  • Lung infections
  • Poor feeding and rapid breathing

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