I have pulmonary hypertension, what should I do?

Learn more about pulmonary hypertension

It is important to learn as much as you can about pulmonary hypertension. Our Pulmonary Hypertension Program team will help you learn about your condition. Understanding the disease and the different medical conditions that can cause pulmonary hypertension will help you to understand your symptoms. Knowing the medications that are available to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) will help you to make decisions about which treatment is right for you. The Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) is a great place to get more information about pulmonary hypertension.

Learn how to manage your condition

Work with your pulmonary hypertension team to learn strategies to manage your symptoms. Medication side effects can be challenging and may require additional medications for relief. Monitoring your weight and sodium intake can improve swelling and heart failure symptoms. Conserving energy and avoiding stress are important as well. Our pulmonary hypertension nurse specialists can help you learn how to manage your symptoms.

Communicate with your pulmonary hypertension team

You are the most important part of your healthcare team. Communication is important to make sure everyone knows how you are doing. Let your pulmonary hypertension nurse know right away if you have worsening symptoms. Call with shortness of breath or fatigue with less than your normal activities. If you have fast heart beats, chest pain or pressure, swelling in your legs or belly, fainting or near fainting, you should contact your nurse. A pulmonary hypertension nurse is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Talk to your team before flying on an aircraft or traveling to high altitudes. Avoid things that could make your symptoms worse. Pregnancy is not recommended if you have pulmonary hypertension. Always ask your team before starting an exercise program. Avoid heavy lifting or straining. Avoid smoking and second hand smoke.

Make a list of questions

Utilize your pulmonary hypertension team's experience as a resource for you. Assistance with oxygen equipment, medical insurance, medication co-pay costs, disability applications, and letters for travel are just some of the ways our team can help you. Ask questions about anything of concern.

Network with other patients

Connecting with others can provide emotional support and ways to deal with your condition. The Iowa Pulmonary Hypertension Support Group offers support for people with pulmonary hypertension and their caregivers. Meetings provide a forum for discussion, networking, asking questions, and educational opportunities. For more information, please contact Traci Stewart, RN at 319-353-7480 or traci-stewart@uiowa.edu.

Last reviewed: 
June 2018

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