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Help Fight Primary Pulmonary Hypertension

Mar 2, 2008
You or a loved one may unknowingly be experiencing symptoms of a rare condition called primary pulmonary hypertension (or PPH). This condition slowly develops over a median period of three years, but you should take action to diagnose it as soon as possible.

It can begin its development among anyone of any age, including children, with the highest percentage occurring among women between the ages of 20 and 40. In recent years, statistics have also shown that there are as many as about 1,000 diagnoses annually in the United States.

Some speculation indicates that primary pulmonary hypertension may be caused by the sensitivity of the blood vessels to Raynaud's syndrome, appetite suppressants, cocaine, HIV, scleroderma, or systemic lupus erythematosus. If you are currently taking appetite suppressants or cocaine, you are advised to wean yourself off following the advice of your doctor.

The symptoms typical of primary pulmonary hypertension are so variable that the condition is difficult to diagnose. They can include progressively short breath or hyperventilating, fatigue, weakness, fainting spells, lightheadedness, dizziness, coughing up blood, chest pain, cyanosis (a blue discoloration of the lips, feet, hands, or other body parts), and swollenness. Fatigue typically manifests during the first onset of PPH.

Possible treatments can vary widely from patient to patient and include the following: anticoagulants; diuretics; supplemental oxygen that may be needed around the clock; calcium channel blocking drugs; intravenous prostacyclin, which is delivered via a portable battery-powered infusion pump; medication to help the heart's right ventricle function better; and lung/heart-lung transplantation, which would first need approval at a lung transplantation center.

New treatments for primary pulmonary hypertension are still being tested. The innovations, which have already come about, should offer you some hope of a return to normal functioning, especially if you have no history of heart failure and have only been diagnosed with PPH after the age of 40.

The first step to treating primary pulmonary hypertension, of course, is to be able to detect it. For this reason, you should search carefully for a physician who has the latest technology for this task and therefore has a good chance of diagnosing PPH when it is in its early stages. You cannot afford to take any chances on when PPH may pose a sudden threat to your life, and you deserve nothing less than to find the best care there is.

Do not hesitate to take necessary actions today. Your future and that of your loved ones may depend on it.
About the Author
Nick Johnson is lead counsel with Johnson Law Group. Johnson represents plaintiffs in many states and focuses on injury cases involving Fen-Phen and PPH, Paxil, Mesothelioma, and Avandia. Call Nick Johnson at 1-888-311-5522 or visit http://www.johnsonlawgroup.com
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