Atherosclerosis takes place over a lifetime. Complications from atherosclerosis tend to happen later in life. But the process of narrowing and hardening of the arteries starts early, progressing over decades.
Developing some atherosclerosis is often unavoidable. It's the result of aging and our own genetic tendencies. A much larger part, though, is determined by our behavior and lifestyle choices as we move through life.
How old are your arteries? Are they the ones you had in college? Or are...
Medicines to help with symptoms. Some medicines
can control a heartbeat that isn't regular. Others make the heart stronger
until a defect can be fixed. Your child may need some medicines after
surgery. To learn more, see Medications.
repair the structural defect. If a newborn needs surgery, the
surgery may be delayed until the baby is stronger. If the defect threatens the
baby's life, surgery will be done right away. To learn more, see Surgery.
Your child will also need regular visits to a pediatric cardiologist.
You may need to keep track of medicines and make frequent trips to
the doctor. Costs can be high. Try to
find support groups and other parents who can help you with the many emotions
What to think about
Some children die from severe congenital heart defects or related
complications, such as heart failure. If your baby is born with
a severe heart defect, there's a good chance that he or she
will survive with treatment. But you must also prepare for the possibility that
your child may die. Talk with your doctor about local resources and
organizations that can help you manage your emotional and practical
struggles when faced with this possibility.