Congenital Heart Disease Awareness Week lands in the middle of February. It’s more than likely that it’s not a coincidence that Valentine’s Day and heart-related awareness weeks fall so close together because everyone’s mind is already on hearts and keeping their loved ones safe.
Here are 10 things you may not have realized about Congenital Heart Disease that could be important to know one day.
1. Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) is the most common type of birth defect affecting 8 out of every 1,000 newborns. Each year, about 35,000 babies in the United States are diagnosed with CHD
2. Infants and children with CHD oftentimes have compromised immune systems. If they get sick, they can end up in the hospital while others recover easily.
3. Open heart surgery can affect the way an infant eats. They oftentimes have to go on high-calorie diets to gain a healthy weight.
4. Women of childbearing age should take 400 micrograms of folic acid supplement a day to lowers the risk of giving birth to a child with congenital heart disease, as well as several other types of birth defects.
5. Symptoms of CHD may include abnormal heart rhythms, blue-tinted skin, shortness of breath, failure to feed or develop normally, and swollen body tissue or organs.
6. Common examples of CHD include holes in the inside walls of the heart and narrowed or leaky valves. In more severe forms of CHDs, blood vessels or heart chambers may be missing, poorly formed, and/or in the wrong place.
7. 85% of children born with CHD live to enjoy adulthood.
8. Nearly every state in the United States requires babies to be checked for critical CHDs at birth as part of newborn screening.
9. Some types of CHD can be treated with fetal surgery.
10. Fortunately, many CHD support groups and organizations exist to help parents and families emotionally and financially.