Congenital Heart Disease vs Congenital Heart Defect

CHD and CHD–both focus on struggles with the heart, but where do these terms differ?

The human heart plays an essential role in maintaining the health of our bodies, but not all hearts work the same way. Heart conditions can have a huge impact on the body, but many people are still completely unaware of what challenges our hearts can face. Congenital heart disease and congenital heart defects are often considered to be the same thing–but is that really true? In this article, we will explore how they are the same and how they can differ.

Both terms refer to conditions that are present from birth, but that doesn’t mean that they necessarily mean the same thing. These two terms are often considered to be similar, but even the smallest changes can make a big difference when we take a look at the actual breakdowns. Let’s explore what these two terms really mean.

What is Congenital Heart Disease?

Congenital heart disease is a broad term that refers to any heart-focused disease or problem that is present at birth. This label can be applied as a secondary element to many existing conditions that impact the heart. It is really used as a catch-all term for conditions that impact the heart from birth, but it is also commonly used to refer to a congenital heart defect. By definition, it should refer specifically to a disease.

What is a Congenital Heart Defect?

A congenital heart defect is a little bit more specific than the all-encompassing congenital heart disease term. It refers specifically to issues that occur during development. While there might be underlying causes for these concerns, the fact is that it specifically describes problems that occur when a heart doesn’t form in a way that we consider typical. The heart and the blood vessels surrounding it can be considered when giving a label of congenital heart defect.

Are They the Same?

A lot of people find themselves confused because these terms are commonly used interchangeably. In the public eye, you might see them used in the same way. Some even consider that a congenital heart defect is also a congenital heart disease–but not everyone agrees with that.

Where Do They Differ?

The primary concern when addressing these two conditions is the fact that congenital heart defects do not necessarily need to be a byproduct of a disease. In some cases, there are simply times when a heart doesn’t develop in the same way. This really isn’t a disease, but it can have lifelong lasting impacts regardless.

The Takeaway

These are two common terms that you might hear used in a similar capacity, but there are some differences to consider. A developmental concern might not be considered a disease, and some diseases can cause heart conditions. Learning how these terms differ is just one more step toward raising CHD awareness.

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