Understanding Congenital Heart Disease
Congenital heart disease (CHD) is the form of heart disease that a person is born with. The affects of any form of heart disease can be deadly, but for the person with congenital defects making lifestyle change such as diet and exercise will not prevent or reverse the effects of their form of this disease. Getting diagnosed early in life is the best defense against this kind of heart condition.
CHD is an actual defect of the heart or large blood vessels that connect to the heart. This type of defect is something that people are born with. Other forms of heart disease form over time, and in most cases are caused by unhealthy diets and sedentary lifestyles. Most people are diagnosed with a congenital heart defect a week or two after they are born. Considering it is one of the most common birth defects all doctors are trained to recognize the signs and symptoms that a new born infant will present if they have this type of defect.
1 out of every 100 newborns are born with CHD. For the unborn baby this type of defect is not life threatening because they are still using their mother’s cardiovascular system, through their attachment to the placenta, to pump blood and nutrients through their own circulatory system. Their heart is beating and there are times that a defect can be seen with an ultrasound but the majority of defects remain undiagnosed until after the baby is born and their own heart takes over.
There have been many advancements in the treament of CHD enabling those newborns with complex cases to have greater survival rates, but more is needed specifically for Pediatric CHD in order to improve outcomes.