The exact cause of most congenital heart diseases is still unknown. Though, it is known that certain factors increase their risk.
For instance, if there are similar conditions in the family, the child may inherit the genes that transmit these diseases. Also, if the mother drinks alcohol or consumes drugs during pregnancy, these things increase the risk of congenital heart defects. The risk of congenital heart diseases is increased, if the child is born prematurely or the child has a genetic disease like Down syndrome.
The risk of congenital heart diseases is increased, if the mother has diabetes or come in contact with diseases like rubella, during pregnancy.
Usually, congenital heart defects cannot be prevented. In any case, the risk of congenital heart diseases can be decreased your through the following measures:
- Best possible immunity before pregnancy;
- Maintaining the healthy state during pregnancy;
- Genetic testing before pregnancy, in case of a history of congenital heart illness in the family.
The heart is a very complicated organ and for it to perform its functions properly, the muscles and the valves of the heart have to work in a perfectly coordinated manner. In addition, the veins that bring in blood from all the organs of the body and the arteries that deliver blood to all the organs of the body have to be connected at the right places to the heart. If there is any defect in the connections of the veins or the arteries to the heart; or in the muscles and valves of the heart, it is a heart defect.
A congenital heart defect or congenital heart disease refers to a defect in the heart that is present when a person is born. Researchers have not been able to identify the exact causes of congenital heart defects. The higher probability of people with hereditary ailments like Down syndrome also having congenital heart defects have led to many theories which suggest that there may be hereditary causes, but there is nothing conclusive yet. In addition the use of drugs or alcohol by pregnant women and some viral illnesses affecting women during their pregnancy have been found to increase the risk of the baby being born with a congenital heart defect.