Discovering your child has a disease can be scary, and are almost always accompanied with unanswered questions and risks. Sometimes these diseases are hereditary, but when they're not, it can come as an even bigger shock.
For one family, the discovery of a disease came after their son almost died.
Eating a hot dog seems rather harmless in general, but when a 9-year-old boy took a large bite of one, he went into cardiac arrest. Most would suspect choking, but that wasn't the cause.
Dr. Isa Ozyilmaz of Mehmet Akif Ersoy Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery Training and Research Hospital in Istanbul believes that the bite of hot dog "stimulated the boy's vagus nerve, and this triggered an abnormal heart rhythm that in turn caused his heart to abruptly stop beating." The vagus nerve extends between the brainstem and the abdomen and helps keep the heart rate regular and controls food digestion.
Luckily, the boy was resuscitated after defibrillation.
Despite the boy's family not having any hereditary cardiac diseases, doctors found oddities during his electrocardiograph (EKG or ECG). After running another test, they concluded the child has Brugada syndrome —"a condition that causes a disruption of the heart's normal rhythm ... [specifically] in the heart's lower chambers."
Though difficult to measure the number of people with Brugada syndrome, the Stanford Center for Inherited Cardiovascular Disease estimates that four out of 1000 people in the United States have the syndrome based on EKG results.
Brugada syndrome runs in families, and testing concluded that the boy's brother also has the syndrome (test results on his parents are pending).
The 9-year-old's story is rare, with diagnosis usually coming later in life. After the incident, the boy had a defibrillator implanted in his chest to prevent future sudden cardiac arrest, stated WTVR.com.
The article cautions parents that Brugada syndrome is not something parents need to panic about, but if there is a family history of it, then children should be tested and monitored.
There's no possible way to plan for or prevent all possible diseases. But by knowing hereditary diseases run in your family, you can become aware of symptoms you need to watch for in your children.
What you can do is simply enjoy a healthy lifestyle. Get adequate sleep, exercise, and water. Make a healthy diet part of your everyday life and keep junk foods or sugary drinks at a minimum.
Though having children can turn us into perpetual worriers, it's best to enjoy life every day rather than fretting over what could possibly go wrong. Do what you can to be healthy, and don't stress over the rest.