TORONTO, ON / ACCESSWIRE / February 8, 2023 / Starting today, and until February 14, notable Canadian buildings and landmarks from coast-to-coast will be lit red to support the over 250,000 Canadians born with Congenital Heart Disease.
Congenital heart disease (CHD) Awareness Week takes place every year from February 7-14, to raise awareness about the most common birth defect in Canada.
CHD Awareness Week is led in Canada by the Canadian Congenital Heart Alliance (CCHA). The aim of CCHA is to advocate for and enrich the lives of people living with CHD through awareness, education, research, and support. For people living with the disease and their loved ones, CHD Awareness Week is a chance to share their stories and show support.
Provincial or local legislative buildings in many places and other Canadian landmarks, such as Niagara Falls, the CN Tower, BC Place, Cabot Hill, the Montreal Park Tower are just some that will be glowing red. In addition, a statement will be read in the House of Commons and numerous provincial and local governments are also proclaiming CHD Awareness Week.
CHD Awareness Week is designed to bring attention to this serious, but underappreciated and underfunded, issue. Children born with a heart defect can have significant needs throughout their lifetime, ranging from multiple invasive procedures such as open-heart surgery to daily therapies for breathing and physical rehabilitation. While medical advancements now allow many Canadians with heart defects to have much longer life expectancies and live their daily lives as they wish, CHD still requires lifelong specialized medical care.
This is a great opportunity to educate your community about the prevalence of CHD, as well as the need for research and access to quality care. Join the CCHA for Congenital Heart Disease Awareness Week as we share stories across Canada through personal narratives, proclamations and much more!
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A congenital heart defect (CHD) results when the heart, or blood vessels near the heart, don't develop normally before birth. Over 90% of children born with a CHD now live into adulthood - most require surgical interventions - and many will require medical care/treatment for the rest of their lives. There is no cure for CHD.
According to Project Heart, CHD is the world's most common birth defect, affecting about 1/100 babies and 1.35 million infants every year worldwide - about 4,000 in Canada.
CHD can range in severity - from very minor conditions which may go undetected into adulthood, to more serious defects that will require multiple treatments and surgeries. CHD can impact the walls and valves of the heart or the arteries and veins near, and result in the disruption of normal blood flow such as by flowing too slowly or in the wrong direction. There are over 40 different types of heart defects. A CHD can be discovered through ultrasound during pregnancy or from a physical examination after birth given a baby's symptoms.
CHD is the leading cause of birth defect-related death in infants and claims the lives of twice as many children as all forms of childhood cancer combined. Even in adulthood, CHD remains a leading cause of death and is the number one heart problem for pregnant women.
It is important to know that the outlook for children with CHD has significantly improved thanks to huge medical advances in treatments and care in Canada and around the world. Today, many adults are able to manage their CHD and appreciate a high quality of life because of improvements in the management and care of CHD. However, support, resources, research and mental health support for adults living with CHD is lacking and greatly underfunded.
CHD is 60 times more common than all forms of childhood cancers combined, but only receives approximately one-fifth of the funding. Research in the area of adult CHD has not reached the level of sophistication observed in other areas of heart disease research - even though CHD-related research has the potential for greater impact. At the same time, CHD is a sphere of medicine that still requires more research. Knowledge is crucial to combating this disease and saving lives.
For more information about Congenital Heart Disease Awareness Week and how to donate/support or get involved with CCHA visit our website at www.cchaforlife.org.
SOURCE: Canadian Congenital Heart Alliance
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