PH mistaken for asthma

04.17.2013

Source: Standard Freeholder Cornwall

A routine prescription refill about three years ago turned into a life altering event for Brenden Brinkworth after he was told that his respiratory symptoms were not because of asthma, but something much more severe.

Brinkworth grew up having all the symptoms of asthma such as tightness of the chest, shortness of breath, speeding of the heart and fatigue, but while at his doctor’s office getting a prescription refilled and a general checkup, the physician noticed a heart murmur and immediately had tests done.

Within a week, Brinkworth,16 at the time, was sent to the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa.

After multiple tests, the Ottawa branch didn’t know what was wrong and he was sent to the CHEO in Toronto where they diagnosed him with pulmonary hypertension, a condition that causes high blood pressure which affects the arteries in the lungs and the right side of the heart.

Once the doctors figured out the problem, he went on various medications to try and relieve the symptoms.

But the battle didn’t end there.

“I was sent home and then I got the flu about three months later,” said Brinkworth.

“After that, the medication that I was on stopped working so they had to start me on a new therapy and that started working very well.”

Now, the right side of his heart has shrunk and his breathing has improved.

“It really made me think about what I was doing and scared me at first and it kind of just opened my eyes and made me realize that I just have to play the cards I was dealt,” he said.

When Brinkworth’s sister, Shawna, found out the condition could have killed her brother, she knew she wanted to let others know that it exists so she decided to create an awareness and fundraising event. “I basically started this because of my little brother,” she said.

“We wanted to do this to raise awareness because he was misdiagnosed with asmtha and there’s no cure (for the disease). We decided there’s always a lot of 5 km walks in Cornwall and they seem to do pretty good.”

Brinkworth may not be able to participate in the walk, however he will be helping.

“He’s never once complained. I have, but he hasn’t,” said Shawna.

“The fact is, he’s always smiling and gives out a positive attitude.”

The walk/run will take place on May 11 at the gazebo behind the RCAFA building (240 Water Street West).

Registration for the Cornwall Stride for Breath event begins at 9 a.m. The race starts at 10 a.m.

To register, visit phacanada.akaraisin.com/CornwallWalk or call Shawna Brinkworth at 613-362-0154 or sbrinkworth@open-hands.ca.

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