From February 7th to the 14th, is Congenital Heart Disease Awareness Week in Canada. Although the disease is not well-known to many Canadians, it is one of the most common birth defects, affecting one in every one hundred children. At the Mikey Network, we understand the impact that this disease can have on individuals and families, as we regularly deal with young men and women who have CHD.
For those that don’t know, the word congenital means “present at birth”. The congenital heart defect occurs when the heart or the blood vessels near the heart don’t develop normally before birth.
There is no known cause for the disease, but in traceable cases, it is often caused by:
- Viral infections such as measles.
- Down Syndrome
- Drug or alcohol abuse during pregnancy
Although it is one of the more common birth defects, the survival of children with the disease has greatly increased thanks to medical advances in Canada and around the world. Today, more than 90% that have (CHD), survive well into their adult life.
To learn more about CHD, we recommend the following resources.
Canadian Congenital Heart Alliance – Great resource for both children and adults that are affected by the disease.
University of Ottawa Heart Institute – Provides great insight into CHD, and defines symptoms and specific forms of the disease. They also have a clinic that provides care to adults with congenital heart defects once they become adults.
Canadian Adult Congenital Heart Network – pools the knowledge and experience of congenital heart disease professionals.