National recording artist Traci Braxton, who stars alongside her family on the hit WE tv reality show, Braxton Family Values, has three very personal reasons for supporting the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) as a PHA celebrity champion. Her son and two of her sisters battle diseases that can be associated with pulmonary hypertension (PH), a life threatening, often misdiagnosed progressive lung disease.
Traci’s sister, Grammy Award winning artist Toni Braxton, has lupus; her son has rheumatoid arthritis; and her sister, national recording artist Tamar Braxton-Herbert, has battled pulmonary emboli (PE), blood clots in the lungs. Researchers find up to 9 percent of lupus patients also have PH and while rare, PH can also be a complication of rheumatoid arthritis. One form of PH, Chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH), is believed to occur in up to 4 percent of patients who suffer from an acute PE. PH can exit alone, as well as in conjunction with congestive heart failure; connective tissue disorders like lupus and scleroderma; sickle cell anemia; COPD; HIV and a number of other illnesses.
PH is characterized by increased pressure in the blood vessels of the lungs, which can lead to death from right-heart failure and affects infants, children and adults of all races and ethnic backgrounds. Common PH symptoms are non-specific and can include shortness of breath, fatigue and chest pain. Consequently, this complex disease is often misdiagnosed — for example, as asthma — leading to delays in proper treatment and costing patients valuable time. With early and accurate diagnosis, PH treatments can extend and improve the quality of life for many people living with the disease. While most forms of PH are incurable, CTEPH patients may be eligible for a surgical procedure to remove a major cause of the increased pressure, the chronic blood clots present in the lungs.
“When I learned about PH and PHA during Pulmonary Hypertension Awareness Month last November, I began using my social media platform to let others know about the disease and the importance of getting an early and accurate diagnosis,” Traci Braxton said. “What really struck me was the fact that when it comes to pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), the form of the disease for which most targeted treatments exist, African-American women could have some of the highest death rates.”
As a PHA celebrity champion, Braxton will appear in digital advertising and share information about PH with her social media fans. She will also join PHA for an east-coast fundraiser this year.
A talented reality TV star, writer, artist and philanthropist, Braxton balances her career with her most important role as wife to her husband, Kevin, and mother to her son, Kevin Jr. In addition to appearing on WE tv’s Thursday evening hit show Braxton Family Values with sisters Toni, Towanda, Trina, Tamar and mother Evelyn, she serves as a motivational speaker in support of health-related causes, anti-bullying and education.
PHA relies on charitable donations to fund its programs and supports researchers looking for causes and cures for this complex disease. The heart of the PH community for more than 25 years, PHA is the only national nonprofit providing support and educational resources for patients, families, caregivers, health care professionals who specialize in caring for people with the disease and PH researchers. PHA’s new PH Care Center accreditation program and patient registry are already making contributions to improving patient care, and PHA’s public service campaigns, which Traci will support, are helping to raise awareness and educate the public about the disease.
About the Pulmonary Hypertension Association
Headquartered in Silver Spring, Md., the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) is the country’s leading pulmonary hypertension 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 www.facebook.com/PulmonaryHypertensionAssociation.