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Adults With Heart Disease At Risk Of Developing Dementia, Says Study

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Adults born with congenital heart disease show an increased risk of developing early symptoms of dementia, a new study has found. The researchers also found that adults born with congenital heart disease deal with heart complications throughout their life. 

Nicholas Madsen, MD, a pediatric cardiologist at Children's Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, has conducted a study to see if adults born with congenital heart disease had an increased risk for early dementia.

Adults Born With Congenital Heart Disease

Dr. Madsen and his team studied thousands of adults with heart disease in Denmark, during 1890 and 1982. The researchers found at least 60 percent of adults born with heart disease showed the risk of dementia compared to adults without heart disease.   

"Research shows that children born with heart problems are at a greater risk for one or more neurodevelopmental issues when compared to children without heart disease. We can now say that the risk for these types of problems continues well into adulthood," said Dr. Madsen.

Dr. Madsen expressed that most of the adults with heart disease were born in a time where they didn't have access to hospitals that could schedule open heart surgery. However, Madsen says, "we need to understand the healthcare needs and risk factors affecting the larger number of middle-aged and older adults currently living with CHD."

Congenital Heart Disease

Congenital heart disease is an abnormal development of the heart that happens during the first 8 weeks of pregnancy. Congenital heart disease affects 8 out of every 1,000 babies born in the United States, according to Stanford Health Care.

Children born with more complex heart defects show symptoms of blue skin color around the mouth, fast-paced breathing, swelling around the face, shortness of breath, and poor weight gain. 

Some children born with congenital heart defects don't need open heart surgery, however, other heart defects are more complex and may be required multiple surgeries throughout adulthood. The most common congenital heart defects are Tetralogy of Fallot, Pulmonary atresia, Ventricular septal defect, and Atrial septal defect, according to Mayo Clinic

Signs And Symptoms Of Dementia

Dementia is a group of symptoms that can be caused by disorders affecting the brain. Some of the most common causes of dementia, include Alzheimer's disease, Huntington disease, Vascular disease, and mild cognitive impairment. 

Symptoms of dementia vary from person to person, but most people experience problems with short-term memory loss, confusion, reduced concentration, personality changes, depression and loss of ability to do normal everyday tasks.

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