What causes high blood pressure?
My 30 year old son who is a serious athlete just got diagnosed with heart murmur and hypertension - 150/90.
He has a pretty healthy diet, is not overweight but definitely does not look anemic, has never smoked or taken drugs, drinks socially, and has about one cup of coffee a day. He has been training seriously for a pro hockey team and is presently at the main camp where the team doctor that gave him a physical gave him the diagnosis. He just told him to keep an eye on it and that it may be related to some sort of kidney problem. I also read online that it could be a serious heart valve problem or related to the thyroid. The only symptom that my son may have is fatigue, but that could also be from the hard physical training that he has been undergoing...
Should I be concerned? I suggested he have some blood work done and have a urinalysis. Could it be that he got some kidney infection from the sweaty hockey equipment that he wears on a daily basis that is not always cleaned properly? What would you suggest?
I would recommend as follows:
Thank you for asking on HCM!
I understand your concern and would explain that high blood pressure is not common at his age and other secondary causes underlying high blood pressure should be investigated (a thyroid dysfunction, a kidney disorder, adrenal gland disorder, a lung disorder, etc.).
That is why I would recommend consulting with his attending physician and performing further tests to investigate for the possible causes:
- a chest X ray study
- a resting ECG and cardiac ultrasound to examine his heart structure and function and exclude possible congenital heart defect
- an abdominal ultrasound to examine his kidney, the blood flow in his renal arteries and his liver
- some blood lab tests (complete blood count, fasting glucose, kidney and liver function tests, blood electrolytes, cortisol and aldosteron plasma levels for adrenal gland dysfunction, thyroid hormone levels, PCR and sedimentation rate for an inflammatory disorder)
- an urine analysis.
If all the above tests result normal, it should be considered an idiopathic primary hypertension.
In such case a close monitoring of his blood pressure would be necessary coupled with some diet modifications (avoid salt and caffeine intake, energy drinks, workout supplements, etc.).
Regarding the hockey equipment, I do not think it is related to your sons clinical situation.
But, it is important performing the above mentioned tests to find the possible cause and the proper treatment options (based on the underlying cause).
Hope you will find this answer helpful!
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