Today begins a week that is very important to me. It is a week where I try to spread as much awareness as possible about Congenital Heart Defects. I try to do this all year, but during this week I go out of my way. I tell strangers, friends, family, and anyone I see the significance of Congenital Heart Defects and how much they can affect an entire family.
Prior to Hope's diagnosis I had heard about CHDs. My sister-in-law and her son were both born with CHDs. They were fairly mild and fixed when they were young. Now that I know more about CHDs, I know that they were not fixed...they were repaired. When you have a structural change in your heart when you are born, it can be repaired, but there is no guarantee that it will not be a problem later in life. Even seemingly simple CHDs may cause issues in the future...they may not, but there is always a chance because the heart was not structurally perfect.
I feel the need to share some facts on the first day of CHD Awareness Week:
- Congenital heart defects are America’s and every country’s #1 birth defect. Nearly one of every 100 babies is born with a CHD.
- Congenital heart defects are the #1 cause of birth defect related deaths.
- Congenital heart defects are the leading cause of all infant deaths in the United States.
- Each year approximately 40,000 babies are born in the United States with a congenital heart defect. Thousands of them will not reach their first birthday and thousands more die before they reach adulthood.
- Each year over 1,000,000 babies are born worldwide with a congenital heart defect. 100,000 of them will not live to see their first birthday and thousands more die before they reach adulthood.