What Is Pulmonary Hypertension?
Pulmonary hypertension is a type of high blood pressure that affects the arteries in your lungs and the right side of your heart. In one form of pulmonary hypertension, tiny arteries in your lungs, called pulmonary arterioles, and capillaries become narrowed, blocked or destroyed.
Pulmonary hypertension (PH), is a complex and often misunderstood disease. The term PH means high blood pressure in the lungs. In “regular” hypertension (also known as high blood pressure or “systemic hypertension) the pressure in the arteries throughout the body is higher than it should be. This can be measured with a blood pressure cuff. In PH, the blood vessels specifically in the lungs are affected. They can become stiff, damaged or narrow, and the right side of the heart must work harder to pump blood through.
Each form of PH is different, so it is important for newly-diagnosed patients to find a PH specialist who can accurately find what is causing their PH and develop a treatment plan that is right for that specific type of PH as soon as possible. Every person with PH is different, and new research is being conducted every day with the potential to improve the outlook for people living with this disease. Once in the care of a PH-treating health care team and on appropriate therapy, people with PH can live many years.
What are the symptoms of Pulmonary Hypertension?
Pulmonary Hypertension Quick Facts
- People with PH can experience shortness of breath, dizziness, fatigue, chest pain, heart palpitations or edema (swelling).
- PH affects people of all ages, races and ethnic backgrounds. Although anyone can get PH, there are risk factors that make some people more likely to develop the disease.
- Not all PH is the same. There are five different groups of PH based on different causes.
- The symptoms of PH can be mistaken for other diseases. People who think they may have PH should get a diagnosis from a PH specialist.
- There is no cure for PH, but there are treatments that can manage PH and help patients feel better.
Hope Is Focus of Pulmonary Hypertension Awareness Month
November is Pulmonary Hypertension Awareness Month, and anticipation is growing at the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA).
Starting Nov. 1, PHA will launch a month-long awareness campaign called “PHaces of Hope,” which will focus on the faces of those who bravely fight pulmonary hypertension (PH), showing how PH can affect individuals of any age, everywhere. The national campaign will give a voice to those who are affected by this often misdiagnosed disease. It features photos and videos of actual PH patients who share symptoms to raise awareness and the ways in which they are empowered by hope.
Advocacy and awareness will be spread using interactive and engaging campaigns on social media, along with online and offline tools and print resources for PH support groups and patient care centers. On Nov. 13, special recognition will be given to a specific type of PH, chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH), on CTEPH Awareness Day.