Care for heart birth defects

02/22/2013 7:22 PM

02/22/2013 7:22 PM

During Heart Month, the public will hear a lot about how to keep our hearts healthy and prevent heart disease.

While important, I want to shed light on the 2 million to 3 million people in the United States who live with congenital heart disease. It may come as a surprise that CHD is the most prevalent birth defect throughout the nation, and I have one of them.

I was born with tetralogy of Fallot. To date, I have had five open-heart surgeries that have extended and improved the quality of my life, but I am not cured and never will be. As I age, my heart will require care from doctors who specialize in treating adults with CHD.

Despite this, I consider myself lucky because I am in the care of an adult CHD center, but fewer than 10 percent of adult CHD patients actually receive the specialty care they need.

We must do better.

With greater awareness, all CHD patients can get appropriate care at every stage of their life. Help us spread the word about CHD by visiting the Adult Congenital Heart Association at www.ACHAheart.org for more information.

ANNA TAYLOR

Turlock

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