Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension: An Educational Resource for Patients

December 18, 2009

The American Lung Association created this collection of in-depth educational resources for patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension and their families and caregivers.

The American Lung Association created this collection of in-depth educational resources for patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension and their families and caregivers. The introduction notes that “There are several types of PAH. It can be caused by or occur at the same time as a variety of other medical problems. PAH also can be the result of taking certain medicines. The cause of some cases of PAH is unknown. PAH worsens over time and is life-threatening because the pressure in a patient's pulmonary arteries rises to dangerously high levels, putting a strain on the heart. There is no cure for PAH, but several medications are available to treat symptoms.”

Patients who visit this site can click on “In-depth Resources” to access brochures, statistics, calculators, and other information from authoritative sources such as the American Heart Association; PH Central, which bill itself as “the definitive internet resource for PH-related information for patients, caregivers, and medical professionals;” and the Pulmonary Hypertension Association, which works to “to find ways to prevent and cure pulmonary hypertension, and to provide hope for the pulmonary hypertension community through support, education, advocacy and awareness.”

Click on “Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatments” to find a brief list of the major symptoms associated with PAH, a review of the tests and other approaches used to diagnose PAH, and an explanation of the several types of medication used to treat PAH.

“Living with PAH” reminds patients that “addition to medical and/or surgical treatments, people with PAH make lifestyle changes to better manage their family life, their ability to handle daily tasks, and to enjoy their lives.” Suggested lifestyle changes include making laundry areas more accessible, rearranging kitchen tools for easy access, modifying showers/baths, arranging for regular and emergency child care, securing handicapped parking, finding resources to ease daily and weekly house chores, and limiting use of stairs.

The “Understanding PAH” section provides information about the causes of PAH, an explanation of the classification system used to describe the severity of PAH, and information about the patient populations that are at higher risk for developing PAH.

Click here to access the main page of this educational resource for patients and caregivers from the American Lung Association.