May is High Blood Pressure Awareness Month. I had no idea there was such a thing until I Googled it. Why is this important to me?
I have a child who has high blood pressure. My child isn't overweight. My child doesn't have a horrible diet. My child isn't a video game junkie who doesn't exercise. My child who has pediatric hypertension is an athlete. It is J, a gymnast who practices 17.5 hours/week.
Imagine our surprise two years ago when J was at the pediatrician for a physical for gymnastics camp, and the nurse told me his blood pressure was high. It's never high. She said she would retake it at the end of the appointment. It was still high.
We thought it could be attributed to a decongestant he was taking for his allergies. We were told to stop that medicine, monitor his blood pressure, and bring him back in 2 weeks. It was still high.
In the meantime, we had Googled pediatric hypertension. It says that children should watch their diet (not an issue), lose weight (not an issue), exercise more (not an issue). It could be caused by kidney problems, or it could be genetic. Since J is adopted, we have limited medical information for him. Given the fact that J is quite healthy and active, the doctor ran some additional tests which came back okay. That led them to believe that the hypertension was the primary condition.
J was referred to a pediatric nephrologist who follows him. He has had to wear a blood pressure monitor for 24 hours on more than one occasion, and he dislikes that a great deal. That is enough for him to monitor his blood pressure at home. The blood pressure cuff and monitor sit out like they are decorations in our living room.
The doctor determined that J's blood pressure is high, so he does take medication for it. He is on a low dosage, and it is helping him.
You will find me on the couch with chocolate next to the blood pressure monitor thankful for a wonderful pediatrician who was concerned enough about my son to follow up so this condition could be diagnosed and treated.