People with congenital heart disease need physical activity

April 29, 2013 Categories: Heart News, Scientific Statements/Guidelines

Statement Highlights:

  • People born with a heart defect need physical activity.
  • Some irregular heart beat conditions may require activity restrictions but for most patients physical activity is unlimited.

EMBARGOED UNTIL 3 p.m. CT/4 p.m. ET, Monday, April 29, 2013
DALLAS, April 29, 2013 -- A new scientific statement from the American Heart Associations reminds physicians and people with congenital heart disease that regular physical activity is still important and should be promoted.

Congenital heart disease (heart structural problems existing since birth) is estimated to affect more than 859,000 children and 850,000 adults in the United States.

According to the statement:

  • While some irregular heart beat conditions may require a restriction in physical activity, “for most, physical activity can be unlimited and should be strongly promoted.”
  • Most patients with congenital heart disease are relatively sedentary.  But the physical, psychological and social health benefits of physical activity are important for this population which is at risk for exercise intolerance, obesity and other diseases, according to the statement.
  • The recommendations for activity promotion are based on general recommendations for physical activity for healthy children and adults because only a limited amount of research on physical activity among congenital heart disease patients has been done.

 The statement will be published in Circulation, a journal of the American Heart Association.

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