Pulmonary arterial hypertension


Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a Rare Disease that causes an increase in the pulmonary vascular resistance and an increase in blood pressure in the pulmonary circulation. The reduced blood flow through the lungs is accompanied by an insufficient supply of oxygen to the body. As a consequence, patients suffer from lethargy, shortness of breath and a drop in physical performance. If PAH is left untreated for two or three years after first diagnosis has been made, it will lead to life-threatening heart failure. Early diagnosis and commencement of proper treatment are important for the progress of the disease and the prognosis.

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    Cause & Symptoms
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    Diagnosis & Therapy
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    Everyday life

Everyday life

After a patient is diagnosed with pulmonary arterial hypertension, they must learn how to adapt to the new condition.

  • Strenuous physical activity should be avoided since the lungs cannot provide the body with the necessary oxygen requirements any longer. Breathing difficulties are a clear sign that the strenuous activity should be stopped. However, it is very important that the patient does light exercise and walks regularly in order to maintain muscle strength and to encourage circulation. 
  • The patient's diet should be rich in micronutrients, fiber, and vitamins. However, the intake of cooking salt should be reduced.  
  • Alcohol should only be enjoyed in small amounts.
  • Bodyweight needs to be inspected at regular intervals, preferably always at the same time of the day. Sudden increases in bodyweight can be a signal of a deterioration in the heart and kidneys.
  • Both active and passive smoking should be avoided.
  • If a female patient wants to have a child it is of utmost importance for her to first consult a PAH specialist given the increased risk for expectant mothers and their unborn children caused by PAH.

Further information:

PHA Europe - Pulmonary hypertension association