Allergy and asthma victims, who just suffered through the first seasonal spike in pollens and other airborne allergens, can now brace themselves for the summer one, as weeds blossom in many parts of the United States. Right behind that will come autumn, bringing another, usually smaller and shorter allergy season. Read the rest of this entry »

Q: What causes hypertension in a 5-year-old?
A: Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is not common in infants or children and should always be carefully evaluated. The average blood pressure, or BP, for a 5-year-old boy or girl is about 95/55; blood pressure of 110/70 or higher would generally be considered too high.

The BP should be checked on two or more occasions when the child is well and not in pain (pain will elevate blood pressure), using the proper size cuff. (Your pediatrician will have a range of cuff sizes to fit different ages of children.) High BP can be caused, rarely, by medications such as dextroamphetamine and amphetamine-dextroamphetamine.

In adults, a specific cause for high BP is almost never found; adults with high blood pressure often improve when they go on a low-salt diet, exercise more, give up smoking and lose weight. For young children, however, high BP is often a sign of a heart or kidney problem.

Kidney disease or kidney malformation may be a factor in high BP for children around age 5. The kidneys may not have formed correctly, or they may be enlarged because of poor urine flow through the bladder or urethra. There may also be a problem with the blood supply to the kidney.

Your child should have a kidney (renal) ultrasound to determine whether the kidneys are normal in size and appearance. Urinalysis and blood tests should be done to determine whether the kidneys are functioning properly. If a problem is found, your child may be referred to a pediatric nephrologist (a kidney specialist) or pediatric urologist (a surgeon who specializes in the kidneys and urinary system) for further tests and treatment.

Another cause of high BP in young children is a narrowing of the aorta, the large artery that comes from the heart and carries the blood to smaller arteries throughout the body. Narrowing of the aorta, or coarctation, prevents the proper amount of blood from reaching the kidneys and results in high blood pressure.

Your child should have a chest X-ray and EKG (electrocardiogram) or echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart and aorta) to make sure there is no coarctation. Coarctation can be corrected surgically.

Your child’s blood pressure may require treatment with anti-hypertensive medications, even if the cause is found and corrected. Your pediatrician, pediatric nephrologist or pediatric cardiologist will be an excellent resource for you as you go through this evaluation. I urge you to arrange for your child to have a thorough evaluation.

If you have your own pool, a physical therapist can design an exercise program that is best for you. The Arthritis Foundation also offers a videotape called “Pool Exercise Program,” a 50-minute workout routine. Find the tape at the Foundation’s website. Read the rest of this entry »

Imagine going on a moonwalk. You’re nearly weightless, and when you take a step, you barely touch the surface of the moon. You’re basically floating along. Read the rest of this entry »

The Cradle Position. Once again, place one or two pillows in your lap. These will support your baby. You would then place your baby’s head in the crook of our arm. Be sure your baby is turned to you “tummy to tummy”. Your breast should be supported with your hand in the “C” position, thumb on top of your breast, fingers below. Read the rest of this entry »

Breast feeding is meant to be pleasant and a comfortable experience. Some new mothers complain of sore nipples which can be prevented most of the time. It is normal to have nipples that are tender for the first few days of nursing. This tenderness usually will disappear in 1-2 weeks. If pain, blisters or cracking do occur, you should check with a lactation consultant or your doctor. Read the rest of this entry »

So should you pack the sanitary supplies in her camp trunk? If your daughter has experienced breast development for at least two years, then yes, packing pads or tampons is a good idea. It’s also another great opportunity for sex education — letting your daughter know just what to expect when her period begins. Read the rest of this entry »

The first recognizable signs of puberty for most girls are changes in the breast, beginning with a little swelling or enlargement of the nipple. Often one breast (usually the left) will begin to develop before the other breast. The girl may notice a small lump or “breast bud” in the skin under the nipple, which may be somewhat tender or sore. Breast budding generally begins at age 9 or 10, or anywhere from age 8 to age 14, depending on family growth patterns and other factors. Read the rest of this entry »

So what’s to be made of this? On the surface, it can be said that 24 Hour Fitness may be fit but it’s also smug, and the protesters were not only fat but also rude. But this is only the surface of a deep reality that the fitness services industry as a whole has not dealt with successfully. Our marketing keeps reaching out to the small number of already-reached, and frightening the larger number of folks we need to reach. Read the rest of this entry »

Fat is a big issue and grows more powerful every time the average American lets out another notch in their belt. Since most people are overfat or are worried about being or becoming too fat, the issue is full of marketing possibilities and pitfalls. This was made clear, again, when 24 Hour Fitness launched its new advertising campaign last month. Read the rest of this entry »