Frequently asked question about Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension

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Lately I feel a lot more tired; could I have Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension?

If you have been unwell for a long time, are short of breath and feel like you might faint without knowing why and, if this situation worsens with exertion and limits your activities of daily living, such as showering or going to work, the answer might be yes. Health professionals should be consulted to confirm the diagnosis.

I think I may have Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension, what should I do?

You should go to the primary care centre to find out more about this problem. There, they can ask for a simple test (e.g. chest X-ray, ECG, echocardiography) before being referred to the specialist.

Does Pulmonary Hypertension run in the family?

There is a type of pulmonary arterial hypertension that can be passed down. For this reason, if you have any suspicions, specific tests must be carried out and direct relatives studied according to the genetic counselling guideline.

Why can’t I eat any salt?

Salt contains sodium, which is mainly responsible for regulating fluids in the body. Excess salt can cause excess retention of fluid in the body, and increase the volume of blood for the heart to pump, thus increasing pulmonary artery pressure.    

All foods contain a small amount of salt naturally, you have to think about which foods you have to control and which to avoid.    

You can reduce the amount of salt in your meals by cutting down successively each day until it is completely eliminated, as well as looking for ways to cook food to promote its natural flavour (e.g., steamed) and use new seasonings (e.g. aromatic herbs, lemon and vinegar).

Can I exercise with pulmonary hypertension?

From the outset, physical activity is necessary and recommended, as long as it is not strenuous. But you should do so only if your symptoms get no worse, as this could worsen the disease itself.    

More recent studies show that supervised pulmonary rehabilitation programmes improve disease symptoms, exercise tolerance, quality of life and survival.

Can I choose my treatment?

At your treatment centre, they will offer you the best therapy there is at the moment. Patients do not directly choose the treatment they will receive, but taking into account individual features, therapies can be decided jointly with health professionals, especially regarding the use of drugs that require devices. The medical team will answer as many questions as they can about the choice of treatment to be followed. Good communication with the healthcare team means questions can definitely be answered and treatment follow-up improved.

Substantiated information by:

Isabel Blanco Vich
Joan A. Barberà Mir

Published: 23 November 2021
Updated: 1 December 2021

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