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WHAT IS WORLD PH DAY?

Every year on May 5, pulmonary hypertension organizations and groups around the world participate in World Pulmonary Hypertension Day activities to raise awareness of this frequently misdiagnosed disease and celebrate the lives of people living with PH. World PH Day brings global attention to the importance of improving the quality of life and raising the life expectancy of the more than 25 million people living with PH worldwide.

GOALS

During the celebration of World PH Day, pulmonary hypertension organizations work to:

  • Increase awareness and understanding of the disease to promote early diagnosis. Early diagnosis is important in decreasing premature PH-related deaths.
  • Promote access to  health care and treatments that increase quality of life and  raise life expectancy.
  • Promote the concept of treating the whole PH patient, which includes treating their physical, psychological and social issues.
  • Promote research that will help find the cure for pulmonary hypertension.

Members of the pulmonary hypertension community worldwide also organize and take part in a wide variety of awareness-raising events, actions and celebrations.

HISTORY

In 2012, a program and a scientific symposium were held in Madrid, Spain as the first World PH Day celebration. The day was officially endorsed by 22 patient associations, 10 rare and affiliated disease organizations and eight scientific societies.

May 5 was originally chosen as World PH Day because it is the anniversary of the first child’s death in Spain from pulmonary hypertension as a result of toxic rapeseed oil more than 30 years ago. The May 5 date was upheld as World PH Day by popular consensus and because of events already planned worldwide.

Source: “Primer día mundial de la hipertensión pulmonar,” Asociación Nacional de Hipertensión Pulmonar, diamundial.hipertensionpulmonar.es

What is PH?

What is pulmonary hypertension (PH)?

Pulmonary hypertension is high blood pressure in the lungs. It’s different than the blood pressure that your doctor measures with a cuff. When a person has PH, the arteries in the lungs become damaged, narrow or stiff, putting pressure on the right side of the heart as it works extra hard to push blood through. If left untreated, PH can lead to right heart failure and death.

What are the symptoms of PH?

People with PH can experience symptoms such as shortness of breath, dizziness and fatigue. Because these symptoms can mirror common, less-threatening illnesses, patients often go years without being diagnosed, or are misdiagnosed as having other illnesses such as asthma or COPD. With early and accurate diagnosis, proper treatment can extend and improve PH patients’ quality of life. People who think they might have PH should seek diagnosis and treatment from a PH specialist. Other symptoms include chest pain, fainting, swelling of the arms, legs, ankles or abdomen, dry cough and Raynaud’s phenomenon.

Who gets PH?

There are risk factors that can make some people more likely to get PH, but anyone can get PH. It affects children and adults, men and women and people of all races and ethnic backgrounds. PH can exist alone or be associated with other conditions such as connective tissue disorders (scleroderma, lupus and others), heart disease, HIV and COPD. While there is no cure for PH, people diagnosed with one form called chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH), caused by old blood clots in the lungs, may be candidates for a surgical procedure that can potentially reduce or normalize their lung blood pressure.

Learn more at www.PHAssociation.org.