In short, Pulmonary Hypertension is high blood pressure in the lungs. It is a chronic and rare disease which has no cure. If not treated in can lead to right -heart failure. (Scary right?)
In most cases, the disease is so often mistaken for asthma and therefore patients worsen due to misdiagnoses.
There are many different types of PH.
Primary Pulmonary Hypertension- No Known cause
Secondary Pulmonary Hypertension – Caused due to other health factors, eg: connective tissue failure, HIV, Liver Disease, Sickle cell disease and or Inherited.
This is why it is essential to go for your yearly check ups with the doctor to make sure your in check. I have changed my way of thinking completely since I have been diagnosed. I was one of those people that often left aches and pains but I quickly learnt that If your body is in pain, its telling you that there is something wrong, don’t ignore it, listen to it.
PH displays the following symptoms:
Shortness of Breath
Loss of Energy
Swelling of arms, legs or ankles
Blue Lips and/or fingernails
Who is at Risk of PH:
People of all ages, races and ethnic backgrounds are diagnosed with PH. Even though anyone can be diagnosed with PH, certain risk factors make some people more likely to get the disease.
Obesity and Obstructive Sleep Apnea -Oxygen Levels fall while sleeping
Gender -PH is more common in woman then in men
Drugs and Toxins
Treatment therapy in South Africa is unfortunately not as advanced as in other countries. With little knowledge of the disease in SA, treatment is either imported or in most cases combination medication is tried and tested until a certain combination drug can help that specific patient.
In the beginning of my ordeal, we visited a few hospitals to help motivate the SA Medical board to bring a certain drug for patients with PH into SA. There were 12 patients in my group that were all listed to trial the drug, unfortunately most of the patients had passed as the disease progressed too quickly. I count my lucky stars that I was blessed with a loving family who stopped at nothing to get me the treatment I needed to live.
More and more cases of PH are becoming known in SA and for that reason we need to make PH known and hopefully get effective treatment for those affected with PH.
Lets educate ourselves and others and help fight PH.