LAWTON, OK (KSWO) -National Heart Month coverage concludes Monday with a report about congenital heart defects.
According to the American Heart Association, about 40,000 children are born in the U.S. every year with a heart defect. These defects are a result of the blood vessels around the heart, or the heart itself, not developing normally before birth.
Thanks to advancements in technology, babies born with congenital heart defects have a great chance of living a normal and healthy life. The cause of congenital heart defects are still unknown, but experts say they are more than likely genetic.
There are many different types of defects such as holes between chambers of the heart and malformations like the absence of chambers or valves of the heart. Severe cases are usually detected after the baby is a few months old, while other babies are diagnosed at birth after showing symptoms such as being blue or having very low blood pressure. Other signs and symptoms include having trouble breathing, eating or not gaining weight.
Minor defects are usually diagnosed by a pediatrician during a routine check-up and do not cause any symptoms. If the pediatrician feels the issue is severe, the baby will be referred to a pediatric cardiologist. In minor cases the child will just need to be monitored, but in more severe cases surgery may be needed to repair the defect.
In other Heart Month news, mark your calendar for the Healthy Heart screenings, which will be held Tuesday, March 1, from 7 a.m. until 2 p.m. in the Oakwood Conference Center. If you haven't already made an appointment, walk-ins are welcome from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. The free screening includes an electrocardiogram, heart risk assessment, waist circumference, height, weight and body mass test. For only $20, you can receive lab tests that include your A1C, good, bad and total cholesterol and triglycerides.