Congenital Heart Defects in Adults
Congenital heart defects is one or more problems with the structure of the heart that is present since birth. Congenital heart disease in adults and children can change the way blood flows through the heart.
Q & A
How can you live well with a congenital heart defect?
Here are some things you can do to help you live well when you have a congenital heart defect.
Get regular checkups. Adults who have heart defects need routine checkups. Be sure you have a primary care physician. You might also need to see your cardiologist regularly, such as once a year.
Prevent endocarditis. Heart defects can increase your risk of an infection in your heart. Talk to your doctor about your own risk. You may need to take antibiotics before certain dental or surgical procedures to prevent infection. Also, take good care of your teeth. Treat any infections promptly.
Be physically active. Even if someone has a heart defect, they can still be active and work out regularly. Most people don’t have to stop exercising. But some people may need to limit the kind or amount of exercise they do. This will depend on what kind of defect it is and how bad it is. Your doctor can tell you if you need to cut back on sports or other activities. But even if you are limited in some way, you can still be active and live a healthy life.
Live a life that is good for your heart.
Eat a diet full of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, and low-fat or fat-free dairy foods to keep your heart healthy.
Follow the directions for your medicine to the letter. If you think your medicine is making you sick, call your doctor.
If you need to, you should lose weight and stay at a healthy weight.
Take care of other health problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
Get any recommended shots, like the flu shot.
Plan to get a job. Talk to your doctor about possible limitations before you start making plans for your career.
Birth control and pregnancy
If you are a woman, give your choice of birth control a lot of thought. You will want to use the form that puts your health at the least risk. Talk to your general practitioner, gynaecologist, or cardiologist about which option is best for you.
When planning a pregnancy, both women and men with a congenital heart defect need to think about a few things. How likely is it that you will give your child a heart defect? And if a woman has a heart defect, what are the possible health risks of getting pregnant?