November is Pulmonary Hypertension Awareness Month 

To the editor:

Pulmonary Hypertension (PH) is a rare, complex and chronic lung disease which currently has no cure. PH, or high blood pressure in the lungs, makes it difficult for the patient to receive adequate oxygen and forces the heart to work harder, often resulting in heart failure and death. It is often confused with asthma or COPD.

PH can be difficult to diagnose in a routine medical exam because the most common symptoms of PH are alson associated with many other conditions.

PH patients spend an average of 2 to 3 yars seeking an accurate diagnosis. Seventy-five percent of patients will have advanced PH by the time they are diagnosed.

Proper and early diagnosis is crucial for patient care and it begins with awareness.

Symptoms of Pulmonary Hypertension may include:

• Shortness of breath. PH patients may experience this even while resting.

• Fatigue. This is caused by poorly oxygenated blood.

• Fast heartbeat or skipping beat.

• Fainting or dizziness.

• Swelling in legs and ankles.

• Internal lung bleeding and coughing up blood.

This list of symptoms may be related to other conditions, but may be a sign of Pulmonary Hypertension.

Without treatment and proper diagnosis, the mean survivability is only 2.8 years. Through there are 14 FDA approved therapies available to treat adults with PH, only one of these therapies is approved for use in children. There is no cure.

Awareness allows patients to be accurately diagnosed and treated more quickly.

Please contact me if you have any more questions.

Dawn Portner

New Ulm


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