Turner Syndrome and Heart Problems

Turner Syndrome and Heart Problems

It has been a long time since I have written an article, but its great to be writing another post.  The past two months have been insanely busy!  Between going to Costa Rica, a business trip up North, moving, and many very exciting changes in our personal lives, we have been on quite a roller coaster ride!  As the 1 year anniversary of my Cancer diagnosis passes, I am thrilled to be starting this new chapter in my life.

With all the craziness finally settling down a little, today I finally took the time to check turnersyndrome.org for the first time in quite a while.  I was surprised to see that they had a whole new section on ‘Medical Advances’! I spent a long time looking over it and decided to write this post on Turner Syndrome and Heart problems.

For many years specific structural problems involving the heart have been associated with Turner Syndrome.  Nearly half of girls with Turner Syndrome have some cardiac anomaly.  Some abnormalities that are sometimes present include:

  • aortic coarctation-narrowing of the artery leaving the heart
  • bicuspid aortic valve-the aorta has two leaflets instead of one
  • enlarged aortic valve-enlarged artery leaving the heart
  • Hypertension– High blood pressure, which can result from a kidney or heart problem.

These heart defects can lead to an aortic dissection and can be fatal!

However, there is no need to be scared. 🙂  You don’t need to live in constant fear that your heart is all of the sudden going to break.  They are simply something you and your doctor need to be aware of.  No matter what your age you should be screened for these regularly.  A cardiac problem is not always detected during childhood!  Therefore your doctor will probably have you get an MRI of your heart every few years, even if there was previously nothing wrong detected.

One point I also wanted to stress is that there is believed to be a great increase of fatality during pregnancy with women who have Turner Syndrome.  This is due to the aortic changes during the pregnancy.  If you and your spouse are thinking of starting a family, make sure you discuss it in depth with your doctor, get a complete cardiac checkup, and weigh the risks!

Some ways you can decrease your risk of having heart problems are:

  • Exercise!
  • Eat healthy
  • Stay at a low, healthy weight
  • Get screened regularly for problems
  • Discuss your specific needs and risks with your doctor
  • Smile 🙂  Stress can only tax your cardiovascular and cardiac system even more.

Keep those hearts beating strong! <3

Read more by checking out my E-Book As a Butterfly: Turner Syndrome Survival Guide!

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