Heart diseases among children on the surge
Mrs Samina developed diabetes early in her pregnancy. She took several medications for that, but her blood sugar was not adequately controlled. She gave birth to a newborn at the expected time. The baby was otherwise healthy but developed breathing difficulty with bluish discolouration of his lips and tongue soon. The doctor did echocardiography and found that the baby had structural heart disease.
Along with poorly controlled diabetes in pregnancy, there are several maternal conditions where the newborn babies may have some defect in their heart, termed as Congenital Heart Disease (CHD). CHD prevalence in newborns has increased globally, especially in Asia. Early detection and prompt medical management result in a better outcome in these conditions. Sometimes it needs sophisticated surgery.
Previously people of our country needed to go to other countries for necessary surgical procedures. But now-a-days, Bangladesh is almost self-sufficient in managing these problems in both the public and private sectors. Parents need to bring the newborn to medical attention as early as possible in any breathing difficulties. Development partners also need to subsidize arranging the costly devices required to correct the defects.
For building awareness, World Heart Day is celebrated on September 26 of every year. It is aimed at drawing people's attention to heat-related illnesses. People worldwide can find events that raise awareness about cardiovascular disease (CVD) — its warning signs, the steps you can take to fight it, and how to help those around you who may be suffering.
A recent theme, 'Use Heart to Connect,' was about using our knowledge, compassion and influence to make sure we, our loved ones and the communities we are living have the best chance to live heart-healthy lives. It is about connecting with our hearts, making sure we are fueling and nurturing them as best we can and using the 'digital power' to connect every heart, everywhere.
Dr Abdullahel Amaan is a Resident at the Department of Neonatology, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, Bangladesh.
Dr Khainoor Zahan is a Deputy Director at the Bangladesh National Nutrition Council (BNNC), Bangladesh.