Pulmonary Artery Hypertension (PAH): Meaning and Helpful Tips

Pulmonary Artery Hypertension (PAH) is a life-threatening condition. However, it is one such rare condition that people are much aware of.

Around 500-1000 new cases are diagnosed every year in the US. According to the estimates, about 15-20% of patients with PAH have inherited this condition.

The condition may worsen over time, but the treatments can help your symptoms so you can live better with the disease. It may take some planning, but plenty of people who suffer from the condition find ways to do everything they love, just as they did before being diagnosed.

If you have PAH, you have high blood pressure in the arteries that go from your heart to the lungs. It is different from having regular high blood pressure.

With PAH, the tiny arteries in your lungs get blocked or become narrow. It is challenging for blood to flow through them, raising the blood pressure in your lungs. Your heart has to work hard to pump blood through arteries,and after a while, the heart muscles tend to get weak, leading to heart failure.

Living with PAH:

Now that you understand the meaning of PAH, here are a few tips that will help you live with PAH daily.

Keep a water journal

It will be helpful for you in tracking out the fluids you drink, significantly if your doctor limits you. Remember that the water you drink to take your pills counts.

Set medicine reminder

It would help if you made it a part of your routine. For example, you must take a pill while you brew the coffee in the morning. Also, try to use the alarm on your watch or phone to remind you about the next dose. Gadgets and pillboxes are helpful to organize multiple medications and help you remember when you must take them.

Weigh yourself every day

It is a great way to tell if your body is holding on to water. You must step on the scale at the same time every day. If you have gained 2 pounds or more since yesterday, or more than 5 in a week, contact your healthcare provider. It may signify your PAH is getting worse, or you may need to make some medication adjustments.

Walking helps

Being active is great for your lungs and heart. However, for few people with PAH, even the light activity may make you feel short of breath or tired. You must check with your doctor about which activities may be best for you. Do not push or strain yourself too hard. You must stop if you start to feel pressure in your chest, fatigue, or lightheadedness.

Store things at eye level

Stack your favorite T-shirt in the top drawer. You must also keep your go-to kitchen items on the countertop. Put laundry soap next to it or just above the machine. Move your bathroom products from under the sink up to the medicine cabinet. Bending over too often could trigger PAH symptoms or even make them worse.

Stay out of hot water

A soak in the steaming hot tub or shower may be relaxing, but the heat may cause your blood pressure to drop. If it gets too low, you might faint. So always avoid steam rooms and saunas and keep the hot showers short.

Spend your energy wisely

Instead of tackling the long lineup of chores, rank your to-do list and focus on one of the two most crucial things you want to get done. Break more significant projects down into smaller parts and pace yourself. You must simplify the tasks whenever you can.

Search for sodium

One of the best ways to lessen fluid build-up in the body, making your heart work harder, is to eat less salt. You may be surprised by the amount of sodium cheese, bottled sauces, over-the-counter medicines, pre-cooked chicken breasts, crackers, bread, and breaded foods contain. Check the labels and look for lower-sodium versions.

Get a flu shot

It is always a good thing to prevent the risks of flu. You may also need to get a pneumonia vaccine. Both illnesses may be severe when you have PAH. Even a common cold may sometimes worsen the symptoms like shortness of breath.

Use the proper birth control

Pregnancy is a high risk for women with PAH. It leads to changes in the body, leading to severe or fatal health problems for you and your unborn baby. Few birth control pills may also lead to blood clots.

Conclusion

There are many reasons which may trigger pulmonary hypertension. Treating an underlying condition will help you feel better. There is no cure for pulmonary hypertension, but the earlier it is diagnosed, the easy it is to live with.

If you have idiopathic pulmonary hypertension, the kind where doctors cannot find the cause, the symptoms may worsen over time. However, the treatment can slow down the progress of the disease and help you live longer.

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