A congenital defect is one that is present at birth. In some cases, a congenital
heart defect will not cause symptoms and may not require treatment, while other heart
defects require lifelong management. If you were diagnosed with a heart
defect at birth, you can find the specialized care you need from the heart
and vascular experts at JFK Medical Center.
Understanding the Risk of Complications
Many people lead healthy, productive lives despite their heart defects.
However, it’s still important to understand your condition and the
risk of complications. Some people with heart defects may develop a heart
arrhythmia, which is an abnormal heart rate or rhythm. Infective endocarditis
is a heart infection that may lead to secondary complications, including
heart valve damage, heart failure and blood clots. Liver disease and pulmonary
hypertension are other possibilities.
Leading a Healthy Lifestyle
Your cardiologist may offer lifestyle recommendations that are suited to
your specific condition and general health. Although regular exercise
is important, your doctor might ask that you avoid certain physical activities
and follow up with him or her before changing your workout routine. It’s
strongly recommended that people with congenital heart defects enjoy a
heart-healthy diet. Your doctor may also counsel you about alcohol consumption,
smoking and the use of certain drugs, such as performance enhancers.
Making Follow-Up Appointments
A congenital heart defect may require
medical monitoring throughout a person’s lifetime. Consider asking your doctor if and when you should make appointments
for diagnostic imaging or other tests. Some common exams include magnetic
resonance imaging (MRI) scans, echocardiograms, electrocardiograms and
Practicing Good Medication Management
Some people with congenital heart defects must take medications to manage
their conditions and reduce the risk of complications. Keep an updated
list of medications in your wallet or handbag. Set reminders on your phone
or computer to help you take your medications on time. Inform your doctor
before you have any dentistry work or surgeries done, as you may be asked
to take antibiotics beforehand to prevent infections.
For the last 30 years, The Heart and Vascular Institute at JFK Medical
Center has been serving the Atlantis community, earning a national reputation
for their commitment to Cardiovascular excellence. For more information
or to request a physician referral, call us 24/7 at 561-548-4JFK (4535)
or visit us online at www.JFKMC.com.