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Having a healthy heart can make all the difference in a person’s life. Of course being born with a heart defect can significantly reduce that person’s ability to interact with the world around them.

Congenital heart defects occur more frequently than many people know, and yet not much research has been funded into this cause. Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week hopes to change those perspectives. By informing people about what CHDs are and what they can do to improve those statistics.

History of Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week

Congenital heart defects occur when the heart, or blood vessels near the heart, don’t develop normally before birth. While a normal operating heart has healthy valves, chambers, septums, and blood flow. Congenital disabilities may involve any one of those factors to be considered a heart defect, causing low-oxygen blood not to be transferred from the lungs and heart to the rest of the body.

Common heart defects include Aortic Valve Stenosis, Complete Atrioventricular Canal Defect (CAVC), Pulmonary Atresia, and Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD). All have varying degrees of defects that can affect a person’s life. Bringing awareness to these conditions helps people further understand their risk for heart defects. It also helps that people take part in researching about congenital heart defects.

Sponsored by the American Heart Association, Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week encourages people to learn about congenital heart defects. And how commonly they occur, and how they can contribute to organizations researching into congenital heart defects.

According to the Center for Disease Control, congenital heart defects affect approximately one in 100 births every year in the United States. And an estimated 1.4 million adults in the United States are living with a CHD.

Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week helps honor those born with heart defects. It also recognizes the health researchers and those who care for those with these defects.

How to Celebrate Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week

Help support children and adults with congenital heart defects by sharing facts using social media. Print out flyers with facts provided by the American Heart Association and post them on your local community bulletin boards.

Write a letter to your lawmakers to help make them more aware of CHD.  If you are personally affected by CHD, share your story on social media or in your local newspaper. Take the time to participate in research by filling out surveys and working with your local organizations.

Create a fundraiser for your favorite heart associations to raise money for awareness. Use the hashtag #CHDAwareness to help engage your friends and family in the conversation about CHD.