CHD Awareness Week 2012: CHD Facts

Facts About Congenital Heart Defects

~ Congenital heart defects are the most common type of birth defect in the United States, affecting about 40,000 births per year. Approximately 100-200 deaths each year are due to unrecognized heart disease in newborns.

~ In the United States, hospital costs for people with a heart defect were about $1.4 billion in just one year. This affects not only the families but businesses (lost wages from missing work, taking sick time, etc.) and the government, which in turn affects tax payers.

~ About 20% - 30% of people with a CHD have other physical, developmental, or cognitive problems/disorders.

~ Most causes of CHDs are unknown but they are thought to be caused by genes or risk factors, like exposure to medications, smoking, maternal health conditions, etc.

~ Even though CHDs affect around 1.8 millions families in the United States, there is not nearly enough funding for research and support. "The American Heart Association directs only $0.30 of every dollar donated toward research. The remainder goes toward administration, education and fundraising efforts. Of the $0.30 that goes toward research only $0.01 goes toward pediatric cardiology for CHD." I do like the AHA and the awareness they raise about heart health but it's sad to think that such a little amount goes towards children who desperately need it.

~ If these facts scare you, don't fret - there is hope! As medical technology improves, people with CHDs are surviving and living longer! There are currently about 1 million adults living in the United States with CHDs - I'm one of them! While some CHDs require a lot of medical attention, surgeries and care, others are not as extensive. And as awareness for CHDs continues to grow, people will become more knowledgeable about them and pulse ox testing will (hopefully) become the norm!

~ And speaking of pulse ox...pulse oximetry testing is a simple and painless test that can help screen for CHDs. Indiana just recently passed a pulse oximetry screening law and it rocks! "Beginning January 1, 2012...every infant shall be given a pulse oximetry screening examination at the earliest feasible time for the detection of low oxygen levels." EVERY baby born in Indiana, regardless of gestational age, must be screened for CCHD. (If interested, you can read more about that here.)

~ Want more information? Download or order free information about heart defects from the CDC here. And if you'd like to help raise awareness, please tell your friends & family what you've learned and refer them to some of the websites below!

Fact Sources: Congenital Heart Information Network, It's My Heart, Congenital Heart Public Health Consortium, and CDC

This is one in a series of posts on heart awareness:
~ CHD Awareness Week 2010 and more of my story
~ CHD Awareness Week 2012
~ CHD Awareness Week 2012: CHD Facts - you're currently reading this one!

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