November is Pulmonary Hypertension Awareness Month
Silver Spring, MD (Nov. 1, 2018) – Each November, the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) focuses on the critical need to increase awareness – within the medical community and the public – of pulmonary hypertension (PH), a progressive lung disease that can cause right heart failure and death. Pulmonary Hypertension Awareness Month draws attention to this disease defined by high blood pressure of the lungs that is thought to affect 25 million adults and children worldwide. The complex disease is significantly underdiagnosed and misunderstood; many people with PH are misdiagnosed with more common illnesses, such as asthma.
PH can result from the arteries in the lungs becoming damaged, narrowed or stiffened, forcing the right side of the heart to pump extra hard. Risk factors for PH include both common and rare conditions, including heart disease; lung diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD); connective tissue disorders like lupus and scleroderma; pulmonary emboli; congenital heart disease; HIV; chronic liver disease; and past or present drug use. Symptoms, including shortness of breath, fatigue and chest pain are not necessarily specific to PH and can lead to dangerous delays in a correct diagnosis. Although no cure exists, early diagnosis and proper treatment can extend and improve a patient’s quality of life.
“Through research and education, great strides have been made in the development of treatments and drugs to help people with PH achieve their best lives possible, but it is unacceptable that so many people remain undiagnosed,” said Karen A. Fagan, M.D., PHA Board of Trustees chair, professor of internal medicine and pharmacology, and chief of pulmonary and critical care medicine at the University of South Alabama, Mobile, Ala. “There is a real need for people in the medical community as well as patients to know about PH. PH Awareness Month is a key component in expanding this knowledge base.”
PHA’s outreach during November includes social media, advocacy and fundraising components to drive awareness and ultimately a cure for PH. More information about PH, the campaign and how to spread awareness is on the PHA website at www.phassociation.org/TheRightHeart.
About the Pulmonary Hypertension Association
Headquartered in Silver Spring, Md., the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) is the country’s leading pulmonary hypertension (PH) organization. PHA’s mission is to extend and improve the lives of those affected by PH; its vision is a world without PH, empowered by hope. PHA achieves this by connecting and working together with the entire PH community of patients, families, health care professionals and researchers. For more information and to learn how you can support PH patients, visit www.PHAssociation.org and connect with PHA on Twitter and Instagram @PHAssociation and on Facebook at facebook.com/PulmonaryHypertensionAssociation.