About Me

Talking About Care From Health Clinics

Hi there, I'm Kira Shepherd. When my kids were little, I spent a lot of time at the health care clinic. Children need an exam when they hurt themselves or run a high fever. Any other distressing symptoms are also best explored by a qualified physician. Thankfully, my local health care clinic always helped reassure me that the kids were healthy and developing well. I will share information about common diagnostic procedures and treatments performed at health care clinics. I will talk about alternatives, like going to the hospital or treating at home. My site will cover common symptoms and complications caused by a wide range of illness and injuries. Please visit my site often to learn more information. Thank you.




Talking About Care From Health Clinics

Congenital Heart Disease: Taking Charge Of Your Health As You Enter Adulthood

by Jack Long

Entering adulthood comes with many challenges, including taking charge of your own health care. For young adults that also suffer from congenital heart disease (CHD), learning to manage their own health care and work as their own advocate is yet another challenge they must face. Fortunately, you can prepare yourself for these new responsibilities and ensure that you receive the best cardiac care going forward.

Know Your Health History

Do you know all the details of your condition? As you launch into your adult life, you must be fully versed on your entire health history. You won't always have the benefit of your parents by your side at every doctor visit. This can be difficult to know if you have CHD, because many health episodes and surgeries likely took place when you were an infant or young child.

The Adult Congenital Heart Association provides a free health passport that you can fill out with all the pertinent information. Work with your parents or cardiac specialist to fill it out. You will then have a full record of previous treatments, operations, and past medical providers at your fingertips—no matter where life takes you.

Finding the Best Care

Chances are you have been seeing a pediatric cardiologist for most of your life. Just because you are 18 doesn't mean you need to change doctors immediately. Ask your cardiologist the upper age limit that they treat. It's not uncommon for a pediatric cardiologist to continue treating patients into the early 20s, but it varies by doctor and clinic.

When it's time to change doctors, begin with recommendations from your current cardiac specialist. It's best to get several recommendations and to take the time to interview and research each one. Interview questions to ask include:

  • How many patients do you treat on average that have the same condition?
  • Are you experienced with treating patients in my age group?
  • What are the ways you involve your patients in their own health care?
  • Are you supportive of patients that bring a family member or advocate to appointments?
  • Do you tend to each patient individually or are most visits with support staff, instead?

Independent, but Not Alone

As you adjust to taking charge of your own health, you may want to find a support person to join you on the initial appointments to a new doctor. This can be a family member, a close friend, or a significant other. If you are moving out of state, perhaps for college, you may need to ask for a parent or close family member to visit you at the same time as an appointment until you have built up a local support network.

Another option is to look for local support groups created for young adult heart patients or for others with your condition. You can find information on these groups through your cardiac center or even via a local hospital. The group offer support and can help you navigate your emotions, challenges, and fears as you take charge of your health needs.