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Pulmonary Hypertension is More Common Than You Know

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Okay, so many of you know that I have a type of pulmonary hypertension. Mine is called CTEPH, because it’s caused by blood clots from bilateral (both lungs) massive multiple pulmonary embolisms. CTEPH stands for Chronic Thromboembolic Pulmonary Hypertension. But just ordinary PH or PAH is actually a bit more common than you might think, and it’s possible YOU have it and don’t know. If you have heart disease, an enlarged heart, you might have PH and not know it and the PH could actually be causing the heart enlargement, particularly if the enlarged heart isn’t responding to ordinary treatment measures.Finding you you have PH and treating the PH might could improve and save your heart. And your life.

If you have shortness of breath that is unexplained, don’t just put that off to being older, or heavier or out of shape–it might not be that at all! PH can start off so slowly, so simply, and it can look like any number of other things, so it’s super hard to get a diagnosis early on. If you’re over 30 but under 60-70 and you are getting short of breath when you do ordinary activities, something isn’t right! Sure, you might be out of shape, but most people don’t pant and gasp by just walking up one short flight of stairs, even if you’re overweight or a bit out of shape.

If you’re finding you’re short of breath when you are brushing your hair and putting on makeup or washing your hair in the shower, you might have a PH issue. If you pant when you take the stairs, you might have a PH issue. If you can’t walk to the mailbox and back without gasping and panting, you might have a PH issue.

If you’re dealing with shortness of breath like this, talk to your doctor. If you make lifestyle changes and it doesn’t improve your shortness of breath, then talk to your doctor about testing you for PH. It’s an easy test to get a preliminary diagnosis, and when it’s caught early (especially) it can be managed and treated to prevent damage to your heart. Many people with PH can live a normal lifespan and a mostly normal life with early treatment, but it can be a devastating illness if you catch it after it’s already started to damage your heart significantly.

And if you’ve ever had a blood clot or a pulmonary embolism, you have a chance of getting CTEPH too, and it’s not something most doctors look for. CTEPH is potentially curable if you catch it soon enough and are eligible for the right surgery and it goes well for you.

The key here is early identification and treatment. Unfortunately, from what I’m reading, a lot of folks aren’t diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension until the autopsy, and that just doesn’t have to be that way.

The first and primary symptom of PH is shortness of breath. It’s a vague symptom that can be attributed to so many other things, so it’s not unusual for doctors to ignore it as insignificant. Don’t let them do that! Shortness of breath isn’t normal, and if it doesn’t go away with lifestyle changes, you NEED to find out why.

Don’t put off treatment like I did. It can literally be your life if you do.

Be healthy, be happy.

Love and stuff,

Michy

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