How do I manage my congenital heart disease on a daily basis?

Children with cardiac defects often require extra medical, emotional and physical support from their caregivers. Even after corrective surgery, many individuals with heart birth defects will still require lifelong care and treatment. Medically, some people may require antibiotics to decrease infection risk before undergoing any kind of procedure or surgery. Emotionally, the heart defect may have caused growth or developmental delays, so supporting your child through any difficulties they may have is important. Your child might feel insecure about being smaller than their classmates or they may have difficulties learning. Physically, children may have limits placed on their exercise and sports activities. Support them through all of these needs, and find a therapist if necessary to help them cope with their development.

Unfortunately, many people with congenital heart disease will need to manage their disease on a daily basis for their entire lifetime. It is first important to know exactly what type of defect and/or corrective surgeries you had so that you can get the most appropriate treatment from your doctor. You may also need to request antibiotics to take prior to medical or dental procedures to protect against infective endocarditis, a bacterial infection of the heart.

Additionally, women with congenital heart disease should speak to their doctor about family planning. Some types of birth control are not safe for people with certain heart defects, and pregnancies are high-risk for women with congenital heart disease.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.