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.
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. Physical therapists help children with congenital heart disease live a happy, healthy and active life. The therapist will perform a detailed clinical examination and will work closely with the physician to create a safe, enjoyable exercise program.
Muscle weakness and reduced muscle tone is common. Physical therapy will help increase the child’s muscle strength, balance, core strength and muscle coordination. This helps the child gain freedom and independence and participate in recreational activities with other children.
Parent and caregiver education is an important part of treatment. Physical therapists can advise parents of children with congenital heart disease about methods and techniques to help the child lead the best possible quality of life, despite the constraints imposed by the condition. Congenital heart disease can affect the physical and mental capacity of any child. These children need structured care, not sympathy and that’s exactly what a licensed physical therapist can provide.
That’s not all. Physical therapy can help individuals of all ages improve energy, reduce pain, recover from injury and live the best possible quality of life. As the community experts in physical therapy, we would like to invite you to visit our clinic. We can show you everything that physical therapy can do for you. When it comes to movement and function, don’t let anything hold you back. Our mission is to help you move freely and without pain. Give us a call today, and let us help you and your child. We are standing by to hear from you.
Dr. Daniel Skulavik, PT, DPT, OCS, is with Advanced Physical Therapy located in the Food Lion Shopping Center, Clinton.