What: When a baby is born, most parents fawn over the newborn and want to make sure that everything is okay and that they are doing all they can to protect their precious new life. But parents may not be aware of potential heart defects that can be present in some children. During the month of February, be aware during Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week.
Background: A congenital heart defect is a condition that is present at birth and can affect the structure of a baby’s heart. It can affect how blood flows in and out of the heart and the rest of the body. The causes of congenital heart defects are mostly unknown, but being aware of defects is a step in the right direction. Many children with heart defects are living long and healthy lives.
Story Pitch: A great number of groups and organizations can promote awareness for congenital heart defects. Pediatricians will want to make patients aware of congenital heart defects and how they can affect children. Cardiologists may also discuss the importance of heart defect awareness with their patients. In addition, women’s heart health groups can stress the importance of regular heart care for young girls, since heart disease affects women more than men. They should note the importance of healthy heart care from an early age. Meanwhile, fitness and health centers can promote the benefits of cardio exercise and how it relates to heart health. Food retailers may also want to discuss and advertise foods that are beneficial to the heart.
Story Hook: According to the American Heart Association, some common conditions that can develop in children or adults with heart defects include congestive heart failure, heart rhythm problems and pulmonary hypertension. Remember the following when making your pitch:
- How can congenital heart defects be diagnosed or detected?
- What is the typical treatment for a heart defect?
- What are some signs or symptoms of a heart defect?
- How often should a person with a heart defect see their cardiologist?
Tips: A cardiologist who deals specifically with children and heart defects can discuss the importance of early diagnosis and treatment. Also, an adult who has lived with a congenital heart defect can provide insight into heart defects and how to live a full life.
American Heart Association
Children’s Heart Foundation
–Researched, compiled & written by Kimberly Cooper
Event Dates from CHASE’S Calendar of Events