Pulmonary hypertension (PAH) is abnormally high blood pressure in the arteries of the lungs. With PAH, the right side of the heart has to work harder than normal.
As the illness worsens, you will need to do more to take care of yourself. You will also need to make changes in your home and get more help around the house.
Try walking to build your strength:
Ride a stationary bike. Ask your doctor or therapist how long and how hard to ride.
Make yourself stronger even when you are sitting:
Try to eat around 6 small meals a day. It might be easier to breathe when your stomach is not full. Ask your doctor what foods to eat to get more energy.
Do NOT drink a lot of liquid before eating or with your meals.
If you smoke, now is the time to quit. Stay away from smokers when you are out. Do NOT allow smoking in your home.
Stay away from strong odors and fumes.
Do breathing exercises.
Take all the medicines that your doctor prescribed for you.
Talk to your doctor if:
Get a flu shot every year. Ask your doctor if you should get a pneumonia vaccine.
Wash your hands often. Always wash them after you go to the bathroom and when you are around people who are sick.
Stay away from crowds. Ask visitors with colds to wear masks or to visit when their colds are gone.
Make it easy for yourself at home.
To save your energy:
In the hospital, you received oxygen treatment. You may need to use oxygen at home. Do NOT change how much oxygen is flowing without asking your doctor.
Have a backup supply of oxygen in the home or with you when you go out. Keep the phone number of your oxygen supplier with you at all times. Learn how to use oxygen safely at home.
Your hospital doctor or nurse may ask you to make a follow-up visit with:
Call your doctor if your breathing is:
Also call your doctor if:
McLaughlin VV, Archer SL, Badesch DB, et al. ACCF/AHA 2009 expert consensus document on pulmonary hypertension: a report of the American College of Cardiology Foundation Task Force on Expert Consensus Documents and the American Heart Association developed in collaboration with the American College of Chest Physicians; American Thoracic Society, Inc.; and the Pulmonary Hypertension Association. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2009;53:1573-1619.
Rich S. Pulmonary hypertension. In: Bonow RO, Mann DL, Mann DL, et al. eds. Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 78.
Updated by: Denis Hadjiliadis, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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