February is Heart Disease Awareness Month and February 7-14 is considered Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week. Congenital heart disease is a clinical condition in which there is an abnormality in the development of the heart during the stages leading to birth.
Although this condition may go undetected at birth, a variety of symptoms can occur later in life. Children with congenital heart disease can suffer from generalized tiredness and fatigue, which can significantly affect their quality of life. Most medical treatments are aimed at improving the symptoms and even closing or repairing the defects through surgical treatment. The good news is that physical therapy has been shown to improve the stamina of children with congenital heart disease.
Why do children with congenital heart disease have reduced stamina?
Depending on the type of congenital heart disease, there is an alteration in the flow of blood to and from the heart. Normally, blood flows from all the parts of the body to the right side of the heart. It is then pumped from the left side of the heart to the rest of the body.
In congenital heart disease, there is a muscular defect, which results in an alteration of this blood flow. As a result, blood without oxygen is circulated through the body. This can cause tiredness, fatigue and loss of energy.