Wednesday, January 17, 2007

CHD Awareness Day

People throughout the world are joining hearts this Valentine’s Day to raise awareness of congenital heart disease. On Feb.14, there will be a public awareness campaign to inform people of congenital heart defects. A Day for Hearts is a special day to highlight problems created by congenital heart defects. CHD Awareness Day aims to increase research funding, assistance to support groups, and to educate the general public about the disease.

Congenital heart defects are heart problems present at birth and they occur when the heart does not develop normally before birth. CHD is the most frequently occurring birth defect, and is the leading cause of birth defect-related deaths.Congenital heart defects cause one or more portions of the heart to develop abnormally. Absent, narrow or leaky heart valves and blood vessels, holes in the walls between chambers, transposed arteries and underdevelopment or total absence of one or more components are all possible.

It is estimated that 40,000 babies with congenital heart defects are born in the United States each year. Approximately one million American children and adults with congenital heart defects and childhood-onset heart disease are alive today.

According to the March of Dimes, each day 10,830 babies are born in the U.S.; 411 of them have a birth defect and out of those defects, 93 will be born with a congenital heart defect.

Nearly twice as many children die from congenital heart disease in the United States each year as from all forms of childhood cancers combined. Congenital heart disease is a serious health issue that affects millions of families.

A Day for Hearts was developed to create awareness of CHD and involve others to help increase public knowledge. An international coalition of families, individuals, non-profit organizations, support groups and health professionals participate in the Day for Hearts campaign.

There are different ways to help raise awareness of CHD. Spreading the message via e-mail or word-of-mouth can also be powerful ways to raise CHD awareness. Please take time on February 14 to honor families of children and adults with congenital heart defects and the professionals who work with them, and to help remember the memory of lives lost.

"Band Together for CHD"

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