Tuesday, February 14, 2012

World Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Day

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By Nurse Diane,

When I met my husband he told me he had a brother and a sister.  He never got to meet his brother; He only lived for 3 months, and died before my husband was born.  He was born with a defective heart, a hole in his heart.  This happened in the mid 1950's.  Medical science has made incredible leaps since then.  Now it is possible to detect problems and even correct them while the baby is still in the womb.
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This week is World Congenital Heart Defect (CHD) Awareness Day.  The purpose of making people aware of heart defects is according to tchin.org, is sincere hope that efforts to educate the public will result in improved early diagnosis, additional funding for support and educational services, scientific research, and access to quality of care for our children and adults.  Some facts about congenital heart defects from the CDC include:
  • Congenital Heart Defects are common, in fact there are around 40,000 babies born each year with heart defects, it is the most common birth defect.
  • Some birth defects can be found before birth, at the time of birth and even later on in life.
  • Congenital heart defects can greatly affect the finances not only of the families involved, but of everyone.
  • People with congenital heart defects are living longer.
  • Some congenital heart defects can be prevented.  National Birth Defects Prevention Study has found that women who are obese, have diabetes, or smoke during pregnancy increase their chances of having a baby born with a heart defect. A woman can take some important steps before and during pregnancy to help prevent congenital heart defects. She can work to get to and stay at a healthy weight, control diagnosed diabetes, quit smoking, and take frolic acid daily. These actions can reduce the risk of having a baby with a congenital heart defect.

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Some things you can do to promote heart defect awareness include:

  • Request a proclamation from your Governor and/or Local elected official(s), and try to arrange a public signing ceremony
  • Help pass a bill for Pulse Ox Screening for Critical Congenital Heart Disease in your state.
  • Use Social Media to inform people about CHD
  • Add CHD Awareness Week banners your website(s) and blogs
  • Print and distribute CHD Awareness Week brochures in your community
  • Contact local media: TV News station, newspaper(s), radio station(s), and
  • Blog about it.

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The purpose is to make expectant mothers and medical professionals aware of prevention with proper prenatal care, and early detection with medical testing so that more babies will be born heart healthy.

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