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Congenital Heart Defect

Support Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week With Affinity Health

In support of Congenital Heart Defects (CHD) Awareness Week, which runs from the 7th to the 14th of February, Affinity Health hopes to raise awareness about this life-threatening condition.

Did you know that CHD are the most common birth defect, occurring in 1% of all births? Or that about 25% of children born with CHD need heart surgery or other interventions to survive?

“Most individuals are unaware that CHDs are the world’s number one congenital disability, and although treatments are available and improving, CHD remains the world’s leading cause of death for children,” says Affinity Health CEO Murray Hewlett.

“The good news is that those living with CHD have a far better chance of living longer, healthier lives through early detection and diagnosis, better treatment options, and research.”

A CHD is a heart abnormality that can often be detected during a pregnancy ultrasound and often presents when your baby is born (but, in some cases, it can show up later in life – during childhood or in adulthood). The problem can affect your baby’s heart walls, heart valves, and blood vessels.

While doctors are not exactly sure why the heart does not develop properly, suspected causes may include the following:

  • Genetics (the heart defect may run in your family)
  • Taking certain prescription drugs during pregnancy
  • Abusing alcohol during pregnancy 
  • Viral infections during pregnancy
  • Increased levels of blood sugar, such as diabetes

It’s important to note that there are many forms of congenital heart defects. Some infants have mild heart defects that, with time, heal on their own (such as patent ductus arteriosus or atrial septal defect. Others may have defects, which require extensive therapy. 

Eight signs and symptoms of CHDs in babies may include:

  1. Bluish lips, skin, fingers, and toes
  2. Breathlessness or trouble breathing
  3. Feeding difficulties
  4. Low birth weight
  5. Chest pain
  6. Delayed growth
  7. Abnormal heart rhythms
  8. Swelling

A baby’s risk of having a CHD is increased by three times if the mother, father, or sibling has a CHD. If you have a history of congenital heart defects in your family and plan on having a baby, ask your doctor about genetic screening.  

 

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About Affinity Health

Affinity Health aims to provide premier quality, affordable medical insurance to South Africans. We strive to give our clients peace of mind and the highest standard of service when they are faced with injury or illness. We work to deliver innovative solutions that are simple, cost-effective, and proven, so our cover is structured to ensure that you get exactly what you need. For more information, follow us on Facebook, and Instagram.