What to know about Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension



treatment can help control symptoms and improve quality of life

What to know about Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension

Each year, an estimated 500-1,000 people nationwide are diagnosed with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). While there’s currently no cure, treatment can help control symptoms and improve quality of life.

The American Lung Association, with support from Janssen, launched a new campaign to ensure patients get an earlier, accurate PAH diagnosis and feel empowered to participate in discussions regarding treatment options. As part of the campaign, they’re also sharing insights from Lindsay T., a patient living with PAH.
  • PAH defined: PAH is a progressive disorder and one form of a broader condition known as pulmonary hypertension, which is high blood pressure in the lungs. In PAH, this increased pressure in the vessels is caused by obstruction in the small arteries in the lung, and can occur for a variety of reasons.
  • Causes: While the cause of PAH is usually unknown, about 15-20% of patients have inherited the condition. Most common in women ages 30-60, PAH disproportionately impacts African American and Hispanic women.
  • Symptoms: Individuals are initially asymptomatic and then begin to experience symptoms similar to other common lung diseases, such as shortness of breath and fatigue. For this reason, PAH can be difficult to diagnose -- 74% of patients are diagnosed in advanced stages of the disease. Eventually, symptoms can include swelling of the feet, legs, abdomen and neck, dizziness and fainting spells, chest pain, heart palpitations, and lips and fingers turning blue.
“When I was 23, I started noticing that when I would walk, I would get out of breath really easily. At first, I thought I was just out of shape. It took about a year for my doctors to say it was pulmonary arterial hypertension,” says Lindsay.

  • Diagnosis: To confirm diagnosis, a right heart catheterization is needed to measure pressure in the heart and lungs. Providers will typically rule out other common diseases with less invasive tests first. An accurate diagnosis of the correct type of pulmonary hypertension helps ensure prompt, optimal treatment. When PAH is suspected, patients should be referred to a PAH specialist at an accredited center. Left untreated, PAH compromises heart function, which can lead to heart failure and even death.
  • Treatment: Patients should see their specialist regularly for structured evaluations. This allows for tailored treatment plans.
Treatment may include supportive therapies, such as supplemental oxygen, pulmonary rehabilitation and diuretic medications, as well as specific treatment, including medications that dilate blood vessels and affect the vasculature to reduce the increased resistance of blood flow that contributes to right-sided heart failure.

There are many clinical trials occurring right now. Those interested should speak with their healthcare provider or visit Clinicaltrails.gov.
  • Tracking: Tracking symptoms is a vital part of self-management of the condition.
“One of the most important things to do while living with PAH is to learn to listen to your body because it’ll tell you if you need something, and that’s information that you can talk about with your healthcare team,” says Lindsay, who after noticing worsening symptoms, spoke to her specialist who then started her on a new medication.

Lindsay also advises patients to become their own advocates. “Research empowered me to take control of my diagnosis and actually make decisions for my healthcare,” she says.
  • Support: Support groups give patients a chance to connect with others living with their condition. Patients can also learn more at Lung.org/PAH.
While PAH is a serious, potentially life-threatening condition, proper treatment can make the disease manageable. After finding the right treatment plan, Lindsay is thriving.

“This life I lead today, I’m physically active. I teach high school algebra. I’m successfully managing my PAH. It’s not easy, but it’s possible,” says Lindsay.

(StatePoint) 
PHOTO: (c) American Lung Association



Other articles by HVP News Reporters


  • Safety tips to follow when using gas or charcoal grills

    Following safety procedures when grilling can reduce injury and save lives

    Memorial Day marks the beginning of summer for many New Yorkers, and with it, the start of the grilling season. As New Yorkers get ready to fire up their grills this Memorial Day weekend, the New York State Division of Consumer Protection (DCP) reminds consumers to consider some important safety tips for safe summer barbecues. read more »
  • Tips to help avoid moving scams

    Be aware of deceptive business practices

    For this week’s “Tuesday’s Tips,” the New York Department of State’s Division of Consumer Protection provides consumers with important tips to avoid scams when moving. Moving your belongings can be a stressful process, and unfortunately scammers use these situations to defraud consumers out of thousands of dollars by using deceptive business practices. read more »
  • 4 things parents and youth athletes should know about concussions

    Every person and every concussion is different

    Despite the attention drawn to the topic of concussions over the past decade, it can be difficult to find readily available answers about what parents and young athletes should do after sustaining a concussion. read more »
  • How to keep feet and ankles in tip top shape this summer

    Experts offer tips for you and your family

    Summer fun and chores alike come with potential hazards to feet. According to the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, here’s how to protect feet and ankles from the most common seasonal hazards. read more »
  • Confused by nutrition labels? You’re not alone

    How to read the packaging on your groceries

    Shopping for groceries can be like navigating a maze: so many choices in every aisle, food packages covered in marketing claims, and little direction on what is truly healthy and what isn’t. People want to make healthy choices for themselves and their families, but how can they when the information available to them can be so overwhelming? read more »
  • Thoughtful gift ideas for Mother's Day

    Make your mom smile on her special day

    To show your mom just how much she means to you, choose a Mother’s Day gift that reflects her interests and passions. As you’re looking for the perfect gift, consider these thoughtful ideas that will touch her heart. read more »
  • How high-speed internet can help spark community vitality

    Let's get internet everywhere

    Most Americans consider high-speed internet an essential household service. Yet in rural America, an estimated 25% of the population doesn’t have broadband access, limiting their economic growth and access to career opportunities and resources such as education and health care. read more »
  • Girls on the Run launches new curriculum

    Meeting the needs of today's girls

    Girls on the Run International (GOTRI), a nationally recognized nonprofit that empowers young girls, has launched its new research-based curriculum intentionally designed to meet the needs of today's girls. Entitled Hello, Superstar!, the innovative curriculum helps girls build the confidence to be themselves through meaningful and engaging lessons and activities that keep them moving. read more »
  • From awareness to action: Learning.com's commitment to supporting healthy relationships with technology for kids

    Learning.com shares resources aimed at creating positive digital experiences for children

    As the world observes Mental Health Awareness Month this May, Learning.com, a leading provider of digital literacy solutions, is taking proactive steps to address a pressing issue: the need for young learners to develop healthy relationships with technology. Recognizing that banning technology isn't the solution, Learning.com is engaging educators and parents in the conversation and providing free tools and resources during the month of May aimed at supporting the creation of positive digital experiences for children. Through an informative webinar with experts in the field on May 21, Learning.com will foster discussions that aim to help students build healthy relationships with technology. read more »
  • 4 trends showing mental health is a continued challenge for Americans

    People with outward appearances of success, productivity and happiness often still deal with internal struggles. Mental health challenges continue to affect Americans, with nearly 3 of 4 (73%) U.S. adults reporting struggles with mental health in 2023. read more »