Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension

Being told you or someone you love has Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension can be a very overwhelming and frightening experience. There are also many decisions to be made including treatment as well as emotional and practical concerns. It is important to remember that you are not alone and you do not have to take this journey by yourself.

What is Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension?

Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension is a very complex disease so you may find the medical information confusing or difficult to understand at times. Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH) is caused by narrowing or blockage of the blood vessels (arteries) that carry blood from the heart to the lungs. This reduces the flow of blood and oxygen through the lungs which increases the pressure in these blood vessels. Because the heart needs to pump against this higher pressure to keep blood flowing through the lungs, this can make it harder for the heart to work. This may eventually cause heart failure. PAH is only one type of Pulmonary Hypertension (increased blood pressure within the blood vessels of the lungs).

How common is PAH?

Although PAH is uncommon, it is a disease that can affect males and females of all ages and ethnic backgrounds.

What can I expect to experience?

It’s important to know each person experiences PAH differently. As it is a progressive disease, it means PAH can advance quickly, especially if left untreated. We do know that PAH will generally worsen over time.

The positive impact has been my condition is being managed with the medication if not my prognosis would have been two years. My parents and I are closer. I have met some life-long friends with pulmonary hypertension. My advice to someone who is newly diagnosed with Pulmonary Hypertension is to take it one day at a time. Manage symptoms with medications. Everyone with pulmonary hypertension is different so don’t compare yourself to someone else. My motto is keep fighting, every day is a new day.
Bridget, lives with PAH.