By: Betty Lee
February is a month of hearts, not just for Valentine’s Day, but the month is recognized as Heart Month by the American Heart Association.
Congenital heart defects (CHD) are the most common birth defects in the United States, affecting nearly 1 percent (40,000) of births per year. Heart defects are present at birth and they affect the structure of a baby’s heart and the way it works. About 1 in 4 babies born with a heart defect has a critical CHD.
West Virginia is blessed to have one of the top children’s cardiothoracic surgeons located at WVU Medicine in Morgantown. Dr. Gustafson, who is known as Dr. Gus to his patients and their families, has performed more than 15,000 lifesaving CHD repair surgeries on children from all over the world.
Along with CHD, Heart Disease kills about 659,000 people in the United States every year (1 in 4 deaths). Heart Disease is the leading cause of deaths in men and women, regardless of race or nationality. Every 40 seconds someone in the US suffers from a heart attack (805,000 people).
Preventive care is key- and the American Heart Association urges you to stay in contact with your health provider on key ways to lessen your risks.
Visit www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/american_heart_month_patients.htlml for more information on how to keep your heart healthy, not just for Heart Month, but year-round.
Heart 1: Jacquelyn Blankenship- Heart attack survivor.
Heart 2: Jensen Tyler Webb had Heart Defect Surgery at only 3 months of age.