Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week
Hello, all my lovely readers. Hope your February month has been exciting. Today is another awareness day post. This blog’s theme is on hearts. Did you know that there is a Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week in February? This year the Awareness Week runs from February 7th to February 14th.
What is a Congenital Heart Defect? “CHDs are present at birth and can affect the structure of a baby’s heart and the way it works. They can affect how blood flows through the heart and out to the rest of the body. CHDs can vary from mild (such as a small hole in the heart) to severe (such as missing or poorly formed parts of the heart)” (CDC). Sadly, it affects about 1% of births per year in the United States, equal to about 40,000 births. Many born with these defects require surgery or procedures before their first birthday!
There are about 15 different types of Heart Defects, over half are labeled as critical. Below is a list of the types:
Atrial Septal Defect
Atrioventricular Septal Defect
Coarctation of the Aorta*
Double-outlet Right Ventricle*
d-Transposition of the Great Arteries*
Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome*
Interrupted Aortic Arch*
Tetralogy of Fallot*
Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return*
Ventricular Septal Defect
There are a variety of causes that can be linked to CHDs, but most are unknown. “CHDs also are thought to be caused by a combination of genes and other factors, such as things in the environment, the mother’s diet, the mother’s health conditions, or the mother’s medication use during pregnancy. For example, certain conditions a mother has, like pre-existing diabetes or obesity, have been linked to heart defects in the baby.2,3 Smoking during pregnancy as well as taking certain medications has also been linked to heart defects” (CDC).
Thankfully, today’s medical care and treatment of CHD have advanced. Many that have been born with the defect are still alive well into adulthood. However, over time, individuals with CHD will run the risk of developing disability over time, especially for those with genetic problems.
It is important to be aware of this issue and bring support and understanding for those who struggle with it. “CHD Awareness Week honors children and adults born with a heart defect, their families, and the scientists and doctors who are continually working to improve diagnosis and treatment. It’s also a time to educate people about CHD and the need for more research. By participating in CHD Awareness Week, you can help bring awareness to CHD as well as help raise money for research and improving treatment” (Set Works).
How can you advocate for awareness? There are many options for you to choose from.
The website, Mended Hearts, provides excellent resources on how to participate. Activities that range from a Rock Your Scar 2022 photo contest to Share Your HeArt Art Competition to a Remember Our Hearts 2022 candle lighting.
This is what is so amazing about our community. We love to get involved and often find ways using our media as a resource to advocate for others. It is why I often feel we, as a disability community, really need to use the various forms of media out there (films, books, social), to show inclusivity and raise our voices. All Voices Count!
How will you use your voice to bring awareness?
(Photo Credit: CDC)
(Photo Credit: Mended Hearts)