Heart Screening: It is Not Just for Adults

By , January 1, 1970 12:00 am

When you think of heart screening, there is the tendency to visualize someone who is over 50 years of age needing a test like that. However, in some cases it is just as important for teens to have a heart screening as it is for adults.

We have all heard stories about a healthy teen on an athletic field collapse and, unfortunately, pass away. Teens can have a serious condition known as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which can cause sudden cardiac death.

Sudden cardiac death in a teen is typically caused by a defect of the heart. A sporting activity can bring about sudden cardiac death in a youth who is affected by an abnormality or defect of their heart.

Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a condition in which the muscles of the heart thicken, causing the heart to enlarge. This happens to be a genetic heart disease. However, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is screenable and can save lives.

Having this genetic disease can cause several problems:

* The heart may not get the flow of blood and oxygen supply that it needs in order to function properly
* Arrhythmia, which is a slow or irregular heart beat
* In rare cases, sudden cardiac death

Indications or Symptoms

There are several indications or symptoms that you want to be aware of when it comes to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Any of these symptoms should not go undiagnosed:

* Pain in the chest
* Shortness of breath
* Feelings of faintness
* Light-headedness
* Dizziness
* Rapid heartbeat

Long QT Syndrome

Long QT Syndrome is a disorder affecting the rhythm of the heart, and this syndrome is inherited. Extreme and rapid beats of the heart can lead to sudden death syndrome as well.

If there is a family history of sudden death syndrome, with any signs or symptoms such as fainting or shortness of breath it is imperative to have your teen receive a heart screening.

There are many organizations that provide heart screening awareness for both parents and teenagers. More importantly, these organizations also provide awareness to schools. Being educated and aware are the beginning steps in heart healthy matters. An ultrasound of the heart can detect whether or not one is at risk. Speak to your family doctor and your school and inquire about heart screenings in your area.

Many parents speak to their schools and their family doctor about having a heart screening done on their teen, especially prior to joining a school sport. An ounce of prevention, as they say, is worth a pound of cure.

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