Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. This translates to a week full of surreal emotion oozing in our hearts, ready to pour out on our loved ones. But did you know that Valentine’s Day is not the only occasion observed this week? Congenital Heart Defects or CHD Awareness week is observed between 7th to 14th Feb 2021.
From metaphorical to actual heart flutters, let’s take a moment and acquaint ourselves with this group of heart defects.
What are CHDs?
CHDs are heart defects that are present since birth. They may alter the structure of the baby’s heart or the normal course of blood flow and can be mild or severe.
CHDs are extremely common in India. About 1 in 100 children in India is born with some form of CHD. The burden of CHDs in India mounts to over 2L children every year being born with heart defects.
What causes CHDs?
The reason as to why CHDs occur in babies is mostly unknown. However, the commonly understood causes are genetic/chromosomal defects. These may occur concomitantly with other factors like the mother’s diet, health conditions, and medications during pregnancy. For instance, if the mother has diabetes, contracts a viral infection, or smokes during pregnancy.
Prevention and Treatment
Early detection can be helpful in case of CHDs. It can help prevent illness and death due to heart defects. Treatment for CHDs includes corrective surgeries and medications. In some cases, surgeries are not required and the defects can be treated by a procedure called cardiac catheterization. Such procedures can improve the blood flow and functioning of the heart. It is possible that even if the heart defect is repaired, one is not cured of the CHD. However, with the advancement of medicine, people with CHDs can live longer and healthier lives.
What can we do?
Remember to vouch for those with CHDs.
Care for those who are afflicted with CHDs. An approach towards enhancing healthcare for both maternal and child welfare can be adopted. Early detection can help reduce the after-effects of CHDs greatly.
Help out in every way possible. Be it through training other healthcare workers, spreading awareness, or volunteering yourself.
Donate if you can. The burden of CHDs in our country is too high for the resources to cope with. Several organisations are dedicated to this cause. Investing in Research & Development can go a long way in reducing this burden.
This Valentine’s Day, find it in your heart to spread your love to the ones born with weak hearts but living with a strong will.
1. CDC. What are Congenital Heart Defects?. [Online]. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/heartdefects/facts.html [Accessed 9 February 2021].
2. University Hospitals. How Early Detection of Congenital Heart Defects Keeps Your Baby Safe. [Online]. Available from: https://www.uhhospitals.org/Healthy-at-UH/articles/2020/02/how-early-detection-of-congenital-heart-defects-keeps-your-baby-safe#UH-CloseMenu [Accessed 9 February 2021].
3. Express Healthcare. ‘We have one in every hundred children being born with congenital heart disease’. [Online]. Available from: https://www.expresshealthcare.in/interviews/we-have-one-in-every-hundred-children-being-born-with-congenital-heart-disease/417048/ [Accessed 9 February 2021].