3. Pulmonary Hypertension (PH)
PH is a rare lung disease that is eventually fatal. Simply put, the lungs can no longer take in enough oxygen, and blood flow is severely compromised, leading to fainting and chronic fatigue, among other factors. PH sufferers describe living with the condition as having to breathe through a straw-filled with a milkshake. PH is actually a form of severe high blood pressure. In an alarming statistic, the number of PH cases diagnosed has increased from 1 to 2 in every one million people in the US, to between 7 to 15 cases. This is probably because the disease was usually mistaken for a heart condition in the past, but better diagnostics and increased awareness have changed this.
In a common form of PH, tiny lung arteries called pulmonary arterioles to become blocked or damaged. As a result, it is harder for blood to flow through your lungs. Blood pressure in these lung arteries rises and as this happens, your heart’s lower right chamber has to strain to pump blood through the heart. The heart weakens and eventually fails as a result. Early intervention is key.