Heart Screening Alert for ADD/ADHD Children

by on July 27th, 2010 at 7:00 am

The American Heart Association issued a recommendation for all children currently taking or diagnosed to begin taking prescription ADD/ADHD medication to receive a thorough cardiovascular screening.

This warning follows last year’s FDA ordinance to ADD/ADHD drug manufacturers to include warning labels on drugs regarding the increased risk for cardiac complications among those with underlying heart conditions, as prescription ADD/ADHD stimulants raise both heart rate and blood pressure.

What makes this discovery more disturbing in regards to the risk of heart troubles surrounding these medications is that heart disease often goes undetected in children. The AHA reports suggest that 33 to 42 percent of pediatric heart patients also have ADD/ADHD. From 1999 to 2004, the FDA reported 19 children on prescription ADD/ADHD medicine who died suddenly, and 26 showed signs of heart complications, including stroke, heart attack, pain, and/or heart palpitations.

In addition, Health Canada (the Canadian version of the FDA) banned Adderall, a commonly prescribed drug for ADD/ADHD, after a review of FDA records of self-reported deaths of 12 American children.

ADD/ADHD is the one of the most common disorders among American children, according to the American Heart Association, with more than 2.5 million children in the U.S. currently on prescription medications for ADD/ADHD, and an estimated 4-12% with the condition itself.

Since so many heart conditions in children go undiagnosed as symptoms are rarely exhibited, the importance to screen a child on medication or about to begin treatment is necessary to help prevent against these potential risks. Many children have been properly identified as having heart disease via a thorough exam. The AHA recommends obtaining a detailed patient and family medical history, a physical exam with heart monitoring and blood pressure, and an electrocardiogram (ECG). If the patient and parents agree to continue on with prescription treatment even with these identified risk factors, it is wise to consult a pediatric cardiologist and have the child receive check-ups every few months. While these extra precautions may seem unnecessary, adding a stimulant to an existing heart condition could be deadly.

While some children respond well to prescription ADD/ADHD treatment, it is always best to consider an alternative or holistic approach to a child’s health. Especially since the safety factor of these conventional treatments continues to come into question, herbal and homeopathic remedies can provide effective, safe relief without compromising health or risking serious side effects. Natural remedies have been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years to support the healthy functioning of the brain and nervous system, helping to encourage normal and efficient concentration and memory functioning.

As most conventional medicines work only to treat symptoms and problems in isolation, natural medicine strives to create holistic balance in the body to support systemic health, relieve ailments, and prevent future disease. Incorporating changes in a number of areas including diet, lifestyle, surroundings and emotional elements can also be very beneficial in promoting overall health.

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