Heart is a complex and vital organ within the human body. As it is complex, there are various problems associated with this organ and as it is vital, any smallest of the problem involving this organ should be taken care of with extreme urgency before it becomes a matter of life and death. The functioning of the heart is largely on the basis of electrical impulses generated from the sinoatrial node also known as the natural pacemaker of the heart. This electrical impulse is measured on the graph with the technique known as electrocardiography. Whenever there is any abnormality in this graph, there emerges a possibility of abnormality. Long QT syndrome is such abnormality, which affects repolarization of the heart after heartbeat and lead to irregular heartbeat.
How Many In The United States Have Long QT Syndrome?
As the long QT syndrome in many conditions go undiagnosed and diagnosed only whenever there is a routine checkup, it is generally difficult to identify the prevalence of this disease in US. Although it is a rare disorder, but it may cause a sudden death as the implications of this disease is too high on human body.
At an estimate, 1 in 2000 people in the United States suffer from long QT syndrome, but the rate of death in such people is alarmingly high. The congenital long QT syndrome may be associated with the deafness in children.
Long QT Syndrome (LQTS) can be present at birth or the person can develop it later in his life. Thus, on the basis of the development of LQTS, it has been divided in to two types:
Long QT syndrome – When the long QT syndrome is developed in life and is not present by birth, it is known as acquired LQTS. It may be due to certain medications, which may act in a manner related to genetics. It may also be due to the lower level of certain substances such as low potassium or low calcium.
Congenital Long QT Syndrome: It is present in the person by birth. There are certain genes associated with ion channel regulation. In the congenital LQTS, there is abnormality in these genes.
Certain patients are at increased risk for developing this syndrome such as:
Family history of long QT syndrome,
Patients taking medicines which prolong QT intervals.
Children who are deaf as the same genetic problem that affects the functioning of ears also affect the functioning of heart.
Long QT Syndrome Symptoms
The function of the heart is to provide blood and with it, the oxygen and nutrients, to the body. In LQTS, the heart fails to pump the blood efficiently to the body parts resulting in the appearance of symptoms. This will lead to low energy state of the body and the patient experiences fatigue. Further, if the blood does not reach the brain, there may be a fainting (also known as syncope) or the patient might experience seizures. Further, the heartbeat becomes so irregular that there is a palpitation and the sudden death of the patient occurs. The symptoms are more pronounced in conditions when excess blood flow is required such as during exercise or during excitement. In certain case, there are no symptoms of LQTS and the patient is diagnosed during a routine checkup.
Although a rare syndrome, long QT syndrome is a life-threatening condition, which may cause a sudden death. The prevalence of this syndrome is almost 1 in 2000 in the US, but the mortality rate is too high. The condition may be acquired that can be due to medications or low level of calcium or potassium or the condition may be congenital which may be due to abnormality in the genes associated with ion regulation. The symptoms include syncope, seizures or sudden death and the condition is severely precipitated during exercise or excitement when the demand of blood flow increases. However, once diagnose, with proper care and proper medication, this syndrome is manageable.
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