Tuesday, November 16, 2010
I have Pulmonary Hypertension
I have pulmonary hypertension ~ pulmonary hypertension does not have me.
Pulmonary Hypertension is a rare, life threatening, progressive and incurable disease of the lungs and heart. It occurs in individuals of all ages, races, and ethnic background; it is more common in young adults and is approximately twice as common in women as in men. This disease is often mis-diagnosed or under-diagnosed and again it can occur in any person, male or female from infant to senior citizen. It is not uncommon for a patient to visit 3 or 4 different doctors before an accurate diagnosis is made -- often losing a precious year, or more importantly, the deterioration for quality of life. Having this disease is a lifetime commitment for a patient and their doctor; with proper diagnosis and treatment, it is a doable disease for a time. Right now there are approximately 20K to 30K who are diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension in the US and approximately 150K world wide.
Symptoms of pulmonary hypertension do not usually occur until the condition has started to progress. The first symptom of pulmonary hypertension is usually shortness of breath with minimal exertion, you may also feel extreme fatigue, have dizziness or fainting spells, heart palpitations, a dry cough; all these can be symptoms. Edema or swelling in the ankles, the legs or the abdomen can occur; bluish lips and skin and chest pain may occur as strain on the heart increases.
Symptoms range in severity and a given patient may not have all of the symptoms. PH may be secondary to COPD, HIV or Raynaud’s Phenomenon, Sleep Apnea, Scleroderma or even Lupus. There are several other contributing diseases that can cause PH or there can be no known cause. Untreated, however, PH has a worse prognosis than many forms of cancer. Did you know lung disease is the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S., responsible for one of every seven deaths?