The Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) joins other organizations and individuals in recognition of American Heart Month during February.

Many individuals with pulmonary hypertension (PH) also have heart disease. More than 1.4 million U.S. adults have congenital heart disease (CHD), and between 3% and 10% of people with CHD will develop PH or high blood pressure in the lungs. PH can develop in people with CHD because of increased blood flow into the blood vessels in the lungs from defects or shunts in the heart or major vessels. If there is enough extra flow for a long period of time, the lung vessels may become thickened and stiff, and the pressure inside these vessels will increase.

The largest number of people who have pulmonary hypertension are in WSPH Group 2, those who already have left heart disease. In this case, the heart isn’t functioning well enough to keep up with blood returning from the lungs, causing a “backup” of blood that raises pressure. In addition, anyone with undiagnosed PH is at risk for right heart damage because the right side of the heart must work harder to push blood to the lungs.

PHA will be sharing facts and information about heart disease and PH on its social media channels, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, using #OurHearts and #PHAssociation throughout February to raise heart health awareness. This includes information from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Those with a story to share can also submit it to the The Right Heart blog.