WHAT IS PULMONARY ARTERIAL HYPERTENSION (PAH)?

Pulmonary hypertension is when blood pressure is elevated in the lungs.

Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is one form of pulmonary hypertension. It is caused by narrowing of the blood vessels in the lungs.

People can have just PAH (not with any other disease). It also can occur with other diseases.

It may be hard to diagnose. Many of the same symptoms occur in much more common lung diseases.

It is a complex disease. It will usually worsen without treatment.

SYMPTOMS

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Heart palpitations
  • Fatigue (feeling tired)
  • Swelling of feet, legs, belly
  • Fainting or dizziness

TREATMENTS

  • Oral medications (that you swallow)
  • Inhaled medications (that you breathe in)
  • Intravenous medications (that are inserted directly into your veins through a needle)
  • Infused medications (that are pumped in just under the skin)
  • Diuretics (pills that remove excess water from your body)

RISK FACTORS

  • Connective tissue disease (eg, scleroderma, lupus, or rheumatoid arthritis)
  • Cirrhosis of the liver
  • HIV infection
  • Methamphetamine and cocaine
  • Congenital heart defects
  • Rarely, an inherited disease

REMEMBER...

  • Treatment depends on:
    • Individual patient
    • Severity of symptoms
    • Test results
    • At-home support
  • More than one treatment at a time is more effective
  • PAH is serious (untreated, it could lead to death)