Professor Andrew Taylor, an expert in Cardiology for Great Ormond Street Hospital, discusses the importance of children maintaining a healthy heart in order for them to live a long and healthy life.
“Research has shown that those who have high risk factors going into adulthood are likely to have heart problems in later life. Now is the time to plan for the future.” Professor Taylor explains.
“The more that you control the risk factors the less likely you are to have associated heart problems such as coronary artery disease in the future.”
Research conducted by the World Health Organisation has shown that cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of the death in the world. Coronary artery disease accounts for a large amount of those deaths, with an estimate 29% of all deaths in Kuwait being attributed to coronary artery disease. Coronary artery disease has a series of symptoms and can present differently: typically coronary artery disease occurs when the lining inside a coronary artery becomes hardened, stiffened and swollen with fatty deposits inside the artery. This limits the blood flow to the heart and a lack of oxygen to certain cells can result in a heart attack, heart muscle damage and heart muscle death.
“The crucial thing is that if you have zero risk factors then you will have a very low risk profile. We can clearly see those with five risk factors have a very high chance of having a heart attack once they reach 50 years of age.” Professor Taylor goes onto clarify, “these are modifiable risk factors. Families and parents need to be aware and educate their children about the future risk to their hearts.”
The risk factors that are linked to coronary artery disease are high cholesterol, hypertension, high blood sugar, smoking and lack of exercise. These can usually all be avoided, Professor Taylor explains, with a good diet, plenty of exercise and by not smoking.
“There are sometimes things that can’t be managed because of genetics,” he continues “but by educating children about the benefits of a good diet and plenty of exercise from an early age it is hoped that the number of people with coronary artery disease in the future will be lower and lives will be saved.”
The Cardiorespiratory department at GOSH is one of the world’s largest paediatric cardiovascular and respiratory centres. The unit provides a complete spectrum of child heart surgery services for children with congenital and acquired heart disease, as well as specialist activity in tracheal surgery, thoracic surgery, chest wall reconstruction pulmonary hypertension and heart and heart-lung transplantation. In recent years, the department have treated more children with congenital heart disease than ever before, and with excellent results.
Great Ormond Street Hospital in London is recognised as one of the few truly world-class hospitals for children. As a global leader, GOSH has top clinical and research experts working every day to find new and better ways to treat children. While breakthroughs and medical expertise are essential to the treatment of patients, GOSH also places great emphasis on the support and care provided for children by nurturing an open and supportive atmosphere, ensuring that parents and patients are well informed and closely involved in the treatment process.
Children receive the highest standards of care and attention from the expert team of medical and support staff during their stay at GOSH, and are always treated with respect, trust, concern and openness.