World PH Day Raises Awareness of Pulmonary Hypertension’s Global Impact

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Members of the world PH Community will come together May 5 to share their stories, recognize medical professionals and spread hope.

The Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) joins organizations around the world on Tuesday, May 5, to recognize World PH Day.

World PH Day puts a spotlight on the global impact of pulmonary hypertension (PH), a rare, complex, life-threatening disease. PH has no cure and affects 75 million adults and children of all ethnicities globally. PH, or high blood pressure in the lungs, causes symptoms that include shortness of breath, fatigue and chest pain. Without treatment, the average length of survival is under three years.

PH can exist alone or in association with many other conditions. In the developed world, PH is most associated with left heart disease. Other PH-associated conditions and risks include connective tissue disorders, blood clots to the lungs, HIV, sickle cell anemia, COPD, sarcoidosis and living in high altitudes. It has also been associated with methamphetamine use.

The disease is often underdiagnosed and misunderstood. For example, many people with PH are misdiagnosed with more common illnesses, such as asthma. Symptoms aren’t specific to PH and can lead to dangerous delays in a correct diagnosis. While there is no cure, accurate, early diagnosis and access to correct treatment can improve a patient’s quality of life and life expectancy.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, World PH Day events are virtual; they recognize the efforts of the PH community to protect lungs and the medical professionals who treat PH and COVID-19.

PHA encourages the global PH community to raise awareness on social media through posts using the #WorldPHDay2020 hashtag that describe PH and common symptoms as well as COVID-19 posts that recognize the efforts of the PH community to maintain healthy lungs.    

This year PHA is marking World PH Day by participating in a global day of giving back, #GivingTuesdayNow, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. All donations to PHA on May 5 will be matched dollar for dollar up to $15,000. The donations will help PHA’s ongoing efforts to support the PH community as well as medical research. People can donate on PHA’s website.

“World PH Day raises awareness about the worldwide impact of this disease and rallies the global PH community to share its collective story of hope,” says Karen A. Fagan, M.D., chair, PHA Board of Trustees and professor of Internal Medicine and Pharmacology and chief of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, University of South Alabama. “This year’s awareness day has taken on a special meaning with the COVID-19 pandemic, which has affected our community in unprecedented ways. We encourage people to share how they are protecting themselves and their loved ones while also showing support for the medical professionals who care for our lungs. ”

Individuals can visit the World PH Day website for more information about the disease and to learn how they can participate in this year’s campaign. The site includes a digital toolkit with educational messages, images, a Facebook frame and other social media resources.

Headquartered in Silver Spring, Maryland, the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) is the oldest and largest nonprofit patient association dedicated to the pulmonary hypertension (PH) community. Pulmonary hypertension is a rare, chronic and life-threatening disease of the lungs for which no cure currently exists. PHA’s mission is to extend and improve the lives of those affected by PH. To achieve this mission, PHA engages people with PH and their families, caregivers, health care providers, and researchers worldwide who work together to advocate for the PH community, provide support to patients, caregivers and families, offer up-to-date education and information on PH, improve quality patient care, and fund and promote research. For more information, visit phassociation.org and connect with PHA on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

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Noel Lloyd
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