Gregory R. Giugliano, MD
- interventional cardiology
Location and Office HoursBaystate Medical Center
Springfield, MA 01199
- BlueCross BlueShield of Massachusetts
- ConnectiCare (EmblemHealth)
- Fallon Health
- Great-West Healthcare Cigna
- Harvard Pilgrim Health Care
- Health New England
- Tufts Health Plan
- United Healthcare
- Baystate Medical Center
How do electrolytes affect the heart?
Douglas Severance, MD, Family Medicine, answeredElectrolytes are substances that help trigger and sustain the heart's electrical impulses. Potassium, sodium, calcium, and magnesium are necessary electrolytes in the blood that are vital to cell function. Studies show that blood pressure is related to dietary electrolytes. If you consume too much sodium, you can have high blood pressure. You can have high blood pressure if you have too little potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Eating foods high in calcium, potassium, and magnesium from fresh produce is important in keeping your blood pressure normal. The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) is rich in fruits and vegetables and low-fat dairy products. This diet is also low in sodium. If your electrolyte levels get too high or too low, it can alter the electrical impulses of your heart and trigger an arrhythmia.
What do adults with congenital heart disease need to know?
Scripps Health answeredWhile many adolescent and adult patients with repaired heart defects caused by congenital heart disease can and do live rather normal lives, a significant number of these repairs may not last forever. Beginning about 10 years after these patients have their defects fixed, their risk for serious heart-related problems starts to increase.
Many adults with congenital heart disease are unaware that they may be at risk. Because they may mistakenly believe that their corrective surgeries or treatments were permanent, they have not sought follow-up care with a cardiologist as adults and effectively “fall off the map.” Consequently, in many cases adult congenital heart disease is not discovered until a heart murmur or abnormal heart rhythm is detected during a routine physical examination. Some people may develop warning signs such as shortness of breath or fatigue, but since these symptoms are fairly common, they may delay care until the symptoms worsen.
When people with adult congenital heart disease are finally seen by doctors, their conditions have often progressed to the point where they are very complicated. Among the most serious problems are irregular heartbeats, enlarged hearts and heart failure. In the most severe cases, sudden death may occur.
Given their unique health challenges, congenital heart disease patients should be monitored throughout their lifetime by a physician with the necessary specialized expertise, to monitor the disease and prevent complications.
How is congenital heart disease treated?
Piedmont Heart Institute answered
Depending on the severity, congenital heart disease can be treated in a number of different ways. For very mild cases, only medication may be necessary. Many defects that require intervention can now be corrected using catheterization procedures, which repair damage through a thin tube inserted into a blood vessel. These are less dangerous and have fewer complications than traditional heart surgery. However, for very serious congenital heart disease, open heart surgery or even a heart transplant may be needed to correct the damage.
See all Heart Disease questions