What Adults Need to Know about Coronary Heart Disease (CHD)

Thanks to incredible advances in CHD care, more and more children with congenital heart defects are thriving into adulthood. This is not just good news for them, but for the 1 million U.S. adults who live with the same cardiac issues today. The better news is that CHD support is available to make life what it is meant to be.

Coronary Heart Disease

What is CHD?

Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) is the name given to problems that develop in the heart’s blood vessels. Blood can’t flow normally into the heart, or back out of it, and this can put stress on the heart. CHD can be genetic but also happens as a result of problems like rheumatic fever, diabetes, or exposure to certain medications or toxins. In some cases, the cause is unknown. 

The Signs and Symptoms of CHD

Heart murmurs are a common feature of many congenital heart defects and may go unrecognized. T2 and T3 felt on an EKG, or changes in ECG parameters can also be indicative of CHD. 

Congenital Heart Defect

Congenital heart disease is the most common type of birth defect and occurs when one or more of the heart’s two chambers don’t develop normally during pregnancy. As a result, there is a problem with the heart’s structure. This occurs in one out of every 400 live births in the U.S. CHD occurs in both sexes and at any age.

Adults and Preventative Measures

Although age-related CHD is often thought of as a diagnosis in and of itself, it is just one type of CHD. While patients with CHD are more likely to develop heart failure, kidney disease, and a decreased likelihood of survival, the vast majority of CHD survivors will continue to live without any major health problems.

Chronic Kidney Disease

Unfortunately, a lack of knowledge can still be dangerous. It is estimated that 75 percent of patients with CHD are not aware that they have kidney disease. One in seven of them has already lost one or more kidneys and can expect to suffer from further kidney disease as well as a narrowing of the ureter or bladder due to chronic urine retention.

CHD Does not Stop at Childhood

Despite being a lifelong condition, there is no reason a person can’t have a good quality of life, even if they have a serious cardiac condition at birth or develop it as an adult. However, children and adults with CHD can have a significant impact on the family, especially if they suffer complications such as heart failure or stroke. 

CHD support is something one needs throughout their life. CardioSmart, a patient engagement program sponsored by the American College of Cardiology is a great resource for adults who are looking for help in dealing with their Coronary Heart Disease condition.

If you are an adult, ask your physician about whether you should have a thorough heart condition screening.