Heart Screening: It’s Not Just For Adults

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When you think of heart screening, there is a tendency to look at someone over the age of 50 who needs a test. However, in some cases, screening adolescents for heart disease is just as important as it is for adults.

We’ve all heard stories about a healthy teenager collapsing on an athletic field and, unfortunately, dying. Adolescents may have a serious condition known as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy that can lead to sudden cardiac death.

Sudden cardiac death in adolescence is usually caused by a heart defect. A sporting activity can cause sudden cardiac death in a young person who is afflicted with an abnormality or defect in their heart.

Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a condition in which the heart muscle becomes thicker, causing the heart to enlarge. This can lead to genetic heart disease. However hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is screenable and can save lives.

This genetic disease can cause a variety of problems:

* The heart cannot get the flow of blood and oxygen supply which makes it work properly

* Arrhythmia which is a slow or irregular heartbeat

* In rare cases, sudden cardiac death occurs

Hints or Signs

There are several signs that you may want to be aware of when hypertrophic cardiomyopathy occurs. None of these symptoms should be diagnosed:

* Chest pain

* Weakness of breathing, mild headache

* Dizziness

* Fast heartbeat

Long QT Syndrome

Long QT syndrome is a disorder that affects rhythm, and this syndrome is inherited. The extreme and rapid expansion of the heart can also lead to sudden death syndrome.

If you have a family history of sudden death syndrome, it is important to check your teen’s heart for any signs or symptoms, such as fainting or shortness of breath.

Many organizations provide heart screening awareness for both parents and adolescents. More importantly, the agency also provides awareness in schools. Being educated and aware is the first step towards heart health. An ultrasound of the heart can detect if anyone is at risk. Talk to your family doctor and your school and find out about heart screening in your area.

Many parents talk to their schools and their family doctors about having a heart screening on their teen, especially before attending a school game. One ounce of resistance, as they say, is worth one pound for healing.

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