Ingrid Rivera Ingrid Rivera, Honduras

Summer 2012

My name is Ingrid Rivera, and I was born on August 13, 1979. I am 32 years old and was diagnosed with PPH in 2003. I live in Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras. As many of you know, PH doesn’t have many visible symptoms. Since I can remember, I have always loved sports; in school I was on the women’s football team, volleyball team and cheerleading squad. Read more

Todor Mangarov Todor Mangarov, Bulgaria

Spring 2012

My name is Todor Mangarov, and for 13 years, I was an officer in the Bulgarian army. During this time, I was very physically active and often went scuba diving and skydiving. I played football for two hours at a time, but by late 2005, I started feeling short of breath. … In the summer of 2006, I stopped smoking, but my symptoms did not improve. My office was on the fifth floor, but I could no longer climb the stairs all at once.Read more

Denneys Niemandt Denneys Niemandt, South Africa

When You Set Your Mind To It, Nothing Is Impossible, Fall 2011

My name is Denneys Niemandt, and I am a 52-year-old male from the beautiful city of Cape Town, South Africa. My journey with pulmonary hypertension began on a sunny Saturday in September 2006 when my wife, Sonja, and I went looking for a new family car. At the car dealership, I started feeling out of breath and experiencing tightness in my chest and pain in my right arm. I asked my wife twice why they were switching the lights on and off in the showroom, not realizing that I was having a blackout. Read more

 Huan Huang Huan Huang, China

Fall 2011

My name is Huan Huang (Gloria in English); I am a 29-year-old woman from China, and you might say I’ve lived a double life. During the day, I make excuses to avoid walking or hanging out with colleagues, declining their invitations for dinners and parties. In the evening, I am cared for by my mother. I was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension in 2005, but I’ve lived with breathlessness and fainting for years. Read more

Jas Kalra, India

From India, with Love, July 2011

I love the monsoons in Bombay, where I and my wife grew up, went to college together, dated, married and had two lovely kids. But on that dark August day last year, the torrent seemed to beat my chest as I stepped outside the doctor’s chamber. In a span of a week, the diagnosis for my wife’s breathlessness had shifted from atrial septal defect to primary pulmonary hypertension. The first reaction was that of disbelief. I went in for second and third opinions fervently hoping that the doctors would dig out the ‘hole’ that the first echo had erringly put the cause to. The ‘no known cause’ line stayed and PPH was the new guest at our place. Read more

 Shakeela Naz Shakeela Naz, Pakistan

April 2011

My name is Shakeela Naz. I am a 23-year-old software engineer, and I live in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. I was born with Atrial Septal Defect (ASD) and skeletal anomalies in my left arm and both hands due to Holt-Oram Syndrome (which was inherited from my mother). At age 4, my ASD was repaired via an open-heart surgery. Life went smoothly afterwards, and I lived perfectly healthy for the next 14 years. Read more

Hall Skåra, Norway

June 2010 | Courtesy of PHA Norway

Barry SullivanBarry Sullivan, Canada

When You Set Your Mind To It, Nothing Is Impossible
April 2010 | Courtesy of PHA Canada

“Well, this doesn’t appear to have anything to do with your heart… I suspect you may be in the early stages of pulmonary hypertension.” Those were the words that first brought this condition to my attention: a condition that over the next few months and years would so dominate my life, my thinking and my belief in what could and could not be done.

I had just left the office of a cardiologist, referred to me by my family physician after some abnormalities appeared in my chest x-ray and subsequent EKG after a bout with pneumonia. I wasn’t suffering from any obvious symptoms, other than the occasional shortness of breath, which I attributed to weight gain over the years and to just “getting older.” It was January 2005, and I headed home thinking “hypertension; well this can’t be that bad. Watch what I eat, my salt intake, lose some weight, take a daily pill and all will be good. Just check out this pulmonary thing on the Internet and…” POW! Read more

Rocio Penagos HerreraRocio Penagos Herrera, Mexico

I was born with an interventricular communication, and when I was five years old, I had surgery to fix it. I remember that throughout my childhood and adolescence I was always in a permanent state of tiredness. I could not run or jump like my siblings and friends because I got worn-out very quickly. My parents thought it was due to the heart surgery, and I grew up believing that I was constantly tired for that reason.

It was not until five years ago when, after several misdiagnoses, I was finally diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension. I remember that moment being very sad and difficult for my family and me. We received information about a condition that we had never heard of and did not totally understand, and we were told there was no medicine or treatment that might help me. I felt fear and sadness, and I think my parents felt that way also. None of us expressed these feelings out loud. Read more

Migdalia DenisMigdalia Denis, Venezuela

Un Caso Admirable de Lucha por la Vida
Agosto 2008

La vida de Migdalia encajaba perfectamente en el perfil de una ejecutiva contemporánea exitosa con una rutina de trabajo, viajes frecuentes, estudios de postgrado, atención del hogar y crianza de los hijos, entre otras responsabilidades. Sin embargo, el ritmo de vida acelerado y agotador que llevaba se le hizo repentinamente cuesta arriba. Sin ninguna explicación aparente, comenzó a sentirse fatigada hasta para desempeñar acciones tan sencillas como caminar trechos relativamente cortos, subir escaleras e incluso bañarse.

Luego de deambular por muchos consultorios de especialistas en Venezuela, consultar sus síntomas por Internet y enviar correos electrónicos a especialistas de Estados Unidos, recibió el diagnóstico definitivo: sufría un padecimiento crónico denominado hipertensión pulmonar, una dolencia tan rara que su incidencia en aquel momento era de un individuo por cada millón.  Lee la historia completa