The path to a healthy heart is laid in the childhood itself. But it is alarming to hear that even children are falling prey to cardiovascular diseases. A child with any heart ailment is at higher risk of developing serious heart diseases as an adult. Other children with an unhealthy lifestyle or hereditary factors, fall in the high-risk zone of becoming a victim of heart diseases later in life. However, many of these risk factors can be changed, treated, or modified early in life.
Risk factors for heart diseases among children:
If your child has any of the below risk factors, controlling them in the early childhood is very important.
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Physical inactivity
Things you must know as a parent:
High BP is not congenital but has a hereditary link. If you have a family history of high BP, Get your child checked by a physician regularly.
High cholesterol also runs in families. So, if you have such history, take your child for regular check-ups. Other reasons for high cholesterol among children include obesity, smoking, and high BP.
Smoking among teenagers not only increases their risk for cancer but also puts them at risk of heart diseases. The nicotine in cigarette is highly addictive which makes it further difficult to quit smoking.
Childhood obesity makes children vulnerable to Type2 diabetes, heart diseases and other obesity-related illnesses. You must know that dieting in adulthood decreases the size of fat cells and not the number of fat cells. So, it is important to control obesity during childhood.
Things you must do as a parent for the heart health of your child
- Limit the intake of salt and white sugar for your child. Don’t encourage packaged foods with preservatives, flavors, or added salt and sugar.
- Make a food plan for your child sitting together which includes whole grains, fruits, nuts, and vegetables. Including your child in the food chart might encourage them to stick to the plan.
- Help and support your child to quit smoking. If you also smoke then quit together. If needed, seek the help of addiction therapist or medicines, as suggested to stay away from smoking. Tell your child about the ill-effects of smoking.
- Control the food portion of your child and encourage healthy snacking. Do not reward your child with unhealthy packaged foods.
- Limit the TV and laptop time of your child and encourage to play outside. Have some family food time and fun time.
- Children might not like exercising. So, engage them in physical activities like sports, games, cycling, or swimming for at least 60 minutes a day.
If your child is already diagnosed with heart disease, the first thing you can do is to adopt a healthy lifestyle immediately. Never skip the doctor’s visit and stick to his suggestion strictly. Also, take the medications regularly. If you have a regular prescription to follow, you can buy medicines online and continue the treatment without any gaps.