Long QT syndrome (LQTS) affects about one in 7,000 people. The risk of death from LQTS is higher in males than in females until 10 years of age, when the risk becomes equal. People taking medications known to cause prolonged QT intervals are at risk for developing LQTS.
Potassium, magnesium, and calcium are all important minerals for the health of the heart's electrical system. People with low potassium, magnesium, or calcium blood levels, such as those with the eating disorder anorexia nervosa, may be susceptible to prolonged QT intervals.
There have been reports of a link between sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and LQTS. About 10-15% of babies with SIDS have a genetic defect for LQTS.
LQTS often goes undiagnosed or is misdiagnosed as a seizure disorder, such as epilepsy. However, researchers believe that LQTS may be responsible for some otherwise unexplained deaths in children and young adults. For example, an unexplained drowning of a young person may be the first clue to inherited LQTS in a family. Children, teenagers, and young adults with unexplained fainting, unexplained near-drownings or other accidents, seizures, or a history of LQTS or cardiac arrest may have genetic defects that could cause LQTS.
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