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The Truth Behind the Number One Birth Defect in America: Congenital Heart Defects

Anytime a baby is born healthy, it is to be celebrated. Yet each year, 40,000 babies are born nationwide against great odds, suffering from the most common birth defect among all children born in America today: a congenital heart defect (CHD). According to the Children's Heart Foundation, every 15 minutes of every day, a baby is born with CHD. Sadly, thousands of infants who survive birth will not reach their first birthday.

A CHD consists of an abnormality in the structure of the heart that may have life-threatening effects. There are 35 different types of CHDs, yet little is known about the cause of most of them and there is not yet a cure for any of them; but that will hopefully soon change thanks to The Children's Heart Foundation.

"Members of the organization, comprised of parents, family members and friends of those affected by a congenital heart defect, are working together to raise awareness of CHDs, fund important research and identify new treatment options," says Bill Foley, executive director of the Children's Heart Foundation and a parent of a child born with a CHD. "The Foundation supports and provides funding for congenital heart disease that benefits those living, and those yet to be born, with this condition. Our goal is to increase awareness, fund the most promising research out there and one day hopefully find a cure."

When faced with a CHD diagnosis, families are often distraught and seeking answers, guidance and hope. The Children's Heart Foundation published "It's My Heart," a free resource especially for patients and families affected by CHDs. In plain, understandable language, the book (available in both English and Spanish) provides descriptions of the types of CHDs and acquired pediatric heart conditions a child may face. Along with explanations of the various tests, surgical procedures, and treatments for CHD's, the book also contains helpful diagrams, a glossary of medical terms and other helpful information. "It's My Heart" was developed by a dedicated group of doctors, nurses and parents and supported by a grant from the Medtronic Foundation.

To learn more about congenital heart disease or request a free copy of "It's My Heart," visit Children's Heart Foundation.

Categories: Babies, Children's Health, Health & Wellness,

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