Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week February 7-14, childhood infections, heart disease, and stroke

This past week marked the annual Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week, raising awareness and educating the general public about congenital heart defects (CHDs), childhood infections, heart disease, and stroke. Any condition or defect that is “congenital” is a condition or defect existing at birth. Although CHD is often referred to as congenital heart disease, it is not an accurate description, as it is, in fact, an abnormality – thus, a defect. A congenital heart defect occurs due to abnormal development of the heart itself or heart blood vessels prior to birth. CHD is a condition that persists throughout a person’s life. It is the most common birth defect in the United States, happening in 1 in 100 births annually. The efforts of the Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week aim to teach the public about this condition and raise funds to support further CHD research that could improve the lives of patients with CHD.

Risk of early heart attack higher with childhood infections

Risk of early heart attackResearchers at the European Society of Cardiology have found an association between childhood infections and a higher risk of early heart attack. Dr. Andriany Qanitha from the study said, “Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the number one killer worldwide, including in Indonesia where it accounts for 31.9 percent of all deaths. CVD risk factors are rising rapidly in South-East Asia, particularly in young people. Most Indonesian CVD patients are under 56 years old and still economically productive. This very young CVD onset raises the question of whether local circumstances may play a role.”


“Infectious diseases such as typhoid fever, measles, chicken pox, bronchitis, tuberculosis and dengue fever are common in Indonesian children. We hypothesized that infections experienced in childhood and adolescence might adversely affect the vasculature and initiate atherosclerosis, leading to premature acute coronary syndromes (ACS) or heart attacks,” she added. Continue reading…

Childhood trauma and stress raises risk of heart disease, stroke or diabetes in adults

Childhood trauma and stress raises risk of heart diseaseChildhood trauma – or experiencing mental stress – has been found to raise the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes in adults. The findings were published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Study author, Ashley Winning, said, “The most striking and perhaps sobering finding in our study is that high levels of childhood distress predicted heightened adult disease risk, even when there was no evidence that these high levels of distress persisted into adulthood. Greater attention must be paid to psychological distress in childhood. It is an important issue in its own right and may also set up a trajectory of risk of poor health as people age.” Continue reading…

Heart disease risk doubled in children with common allergies

Heart disease risk doubled in childrenResearchers found that children with common allergies have an increased risk of high blood pressure and high cholesterol, which increases their risk for heart disease. Even when other factors that can contribute to heart disease were taken into account, the association still remained.

Lead author, Dr. Jonathan Silverberg, said, “This study shows that cardiovascular risk starts far earlier in life than we ever realized. Given how common these allergic diseases are in childhood, it suggests we need to screen these children more aggressively to make sure we are not missing high cholesterol and high blood pressure. There may be an opportunity to modify their lifestyles and turn this risk around.” Continue reading…

Heart disease kills 1 in 3 Americans: Study

Heart disease killsHeart disease has always been the number one killer of Americans but now new research suggests it affects more people than ever – one in three. In 2013 heart disease was responsible for claiming the lives of 801,000 Americans which includes heart conditions like heart attack, heart failure, and valve and artery disease.

In the latest report it was noted that racial differences also play a role in who is affected by heart disease. Blacks are among the highest risk to experience stroke and nearly half of all black people have some form of heart disease or stroke-related disease. Continue reading…

Endocarditis, inflammation of endocardium can damage your heart valves


EndocarditisThere are many illnesses and conditions that can plague the heart: Heart failure, heart attack, angina, palpitations, heart disease and endocarditis. These are just some examples of heart health conditions that affect how the heart functions. Some heart conditions can even be fatal.

Endocarditis, in particular, is a condition of the heart where an infection occurs within the heart’s lining, the endocardium. Germs and bacteria enter the body and spread throughout the bloodstream. Because all blood eventually enters the heart, the germs and bacteria make their way to the heart as well.

Endocarditis can cause damage to the heart; heart valves included, and even be life-threatening. Endocarditis is rare in those with healthy hearts but there are risks factors that may make a person more prone to being diagnosed with it. Continue reading…