Tuesday, November 3, 2009

About Pulmonary Hypertension

Pulmonary hypertension is a rare lung disorder in which the arteries that carry blood from the heart to the lungs become narrowed, making it difficult for blood to flow through the vessels. As a result, the blood pressure in these arteries -- called pulmonary arteries -- rises far above normal levels. This abnormally high pressure strains the right ventricle of the heart, causing it to expand in size. Overworked and enlarged, the right ventricle gradually becomes weaker and loses its ability to pump enough blood to the lungs. This could lead to the development of right heart failure.
When pulmonary hypertension occurs in the absence of a known cause, it is referred to as idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension (IPAH). This term should not be construed to mean that because it has a single name it is a single disease. There are likely many unknown causes of IPAH. IPAH is extremely rare, occurring in about two persons per million.
Secondary pulmonary hypertension means the cause is known. A common cause of secondary PH are the breathing disorders emphysema and bronchitis. Other less frequent causes are the inflammatory or collagen vascular diseases such as scleroderma, CREST syndrome or systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), the list goes on.
Pulmonary hypertension occurs in individuals of all ages, races, and ethnic backgrounds although it is much more common in young adults and is approximately twice as common in women as in men.

Merle - OHPA


Jen said...

Way to go Merlie...Back to Blogging..and a great cause :))

Hugs :))

Karen said...

Hi, I'm Karen. Since my mother was diagnosed with Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension four months ago, I've decided to make a blog to raise awareness of PAH. Perhaps you'd consider linking to my blog - it's http://hypertension-pulmonary.blogspot.com/

Jackie Welch said...

Hello Merle,

Next month, a group of medical professionals will go to great heights to better empathize with their patients. Dr. Robert Frantz, Director of the Mayo Pulmonary Hypertension Clinic , Dr. Ray Benza and Jessica Lazar, Allegheny General Hospital, plan to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest point in Africa, to raise awareness about Pulmonary Hypertension, a disease that affects approximately 100,000 people in the U.S.

One of the keys to early diagnosis and extending life of Pulmonary Hypertension patients is raising awareness about the disease, which the doctors hope to ultimately do with their trek, named Path to a Cure.

As you are aware, symptoms of Pulmonary Hypertension include shortness of breath, fatigue, dizziness and chest pains. As climbers reach extreme altitudes (above 10,000 feet) their lungs will start to constrict due to decreased oxygen; imitating the symptoms felt by those living with Pulmonary Hypertension.

Along with better understanding their patients’ daily struggles, Dr. Benza, Dr. Frantz and Jessica hope to raise $100,000 to help support research and patient programs for the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA), a non-profit organization started by those with Pulmonary Hypertension. During the climb, the PHA plans to organize more than two dozen unity walks around the United States.

I will be in touch to see if you are interested in learning more about the Path to a Cure or if you would like to speak with any of the climbers. In the meantime, please do not hesitate in contacting me.

Thanks and Best,
Jackie Welch