CONGENITAL HEART DEFECT AWARENESS DAY – 14th February is Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Day, an annual campaign to honour and remember everyone born with a heart defect and all of the families and friends touched by children with heart defects. It is an observance to promote awareness and education about congenital heart defects (CHDs). In addition, the medical professionals who care for those born with heart defects are recognized on this day, as are the experts who are involved in conducting research for treating and preventing heart defects.
CHDs are conditions that are present at birth and can affect the structure of a baby’s heart and the way it works. They can affect how blood flows through the heart and out to the rest of the body. CHDs can vary from mild (such as a small hole in the heart) to severe (such as missing or poorly formed parts of the heart). According to the American Heart Association, congenital heart defects are the most common type of birth defect. CHDs affect 1 out of every 100 newborns.
Signs and symptoms for CHDs depend on the type and severity of the particular defect. Some defects might have few or no signs or symptoms. Others might cause a baby to have the following symptoms:
- Pale gray or blue skin color
- Fast or troubled breathing
- Flared nostrils
- Tiredness when feeding
- Swelling in the legs, abdomen or areas around the eyes
Some CHDs may be diagnosed during pregnancy using a special type of ultrasound called a fetal echocardiogram, which creates ultrasound pictures of the heart of the developing baby. However, some CHDs are not detected until after birth or later in life, during childhood or adulthood. If a healthcare provider suspects a CHD may be present, the baby can get several tests to confirm the diagnosis.
Treatment for CHDs depends on the type and severity of the defect present. Some congenital heart defects in children are complex and may require several surgeries performed over a period of many years. Some can be treated without surgery. Sometimes, the heart defect can’t be fully repaired, but these procedures can improve blood flow and the way the heart works.
Read more about congenital heart disease here.
Observed each year on February 14, National Donor Day (also known as National Organ Donor Day) is a day to increase awareness about organ donation and the lives that can be saved. In the United States, there are close to 120,000 people waiting for a life-saving organ donation. According to Donate Life America, another person is added to the waiting list every 10 minutes, and 22 people die each day waiting for an organ.
National Donor Day focuses on five different types of donations: Organs – Tissues – Marrow – Platelets – Blood. Many nonprofit health organizations sponsor blood and marrow drives and organ/tissue sign-ups across the nation. Look into becoming a donor. Visit RegisterMe, Donate Life, and OrganDonor.gov for more information on organ donation.
With so many currently waiting for precious organ transplants depend on the public to sign up with their state’s organ donor registries on National Donor Day every February 14. It’s a more concrete way to show love than giving heart-shaped candy, roses and red velvet teddy bears. By donating organs such as corneas, tissue, marrow, platelets and blood; you create a living legacy of your generosity with the ultimate gift of love.