There’s no cure for pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), but what patients and their healthcare team do once they are diagnosed can affect their outcomes and reduce their risk for PAH-related complications. The first step to improving your symptoms and slowing PAH progression is to understand what you can do as a patient. In this context, there are several key things to keep in mind.
Early intervention can make a significant difference
PAH gets worse over time, but treatment can slow down its progression.1 Early intervention is critical for effectively managing the disease.2 Being proactive with adjustments to your treatment plan can improve risk status as well as one’s likelihood of survival.3
Patients have more options than ever once they are diagnosed with the disease. PAH guidelines recommend combination therapies for most patients to achieve the necessary clinical response.1 Guidelines also recommend adding an additional medication if you don’t get to low-risk status.4 PAH medications do not cure the disease and do not work for everyone, however. It’s important to work with your healthcare team to see what may work for you.
Periodic risk assessment is critical for understanding what’s going on with your disease and how to treat it
Clinical guidelines recommend that people with PAH should have their doctor complete a risk assessment every 3-6 months as part of an effort to achieve low-risk status and improve prognosis.10 Evaluating risk status periodically can give you and your doctor insight into how your PAH is progressing and how well lifestyle and medication interventions are working. Without this type of assessment, it can be difficult to know how to best manage your PAH going forward or what to expect in terms of PAH progression and survival.
Some important interventions for PAH are not medications
Though medical interventions for PAH have advanced in recent years, there are also important lifestyle changes that patients can incorporate into their PAH management to improve outcomes. These include changes to diet and exercise routines, which can help patients fulfill their nutrition-based needs and improve their fitness levels.5–9 Some of these interventions are strategies for good health generally and come with the advantages of being cost effective and easily implemented. Of course, these changes are not a replacement for taking PAH medicines, but they can help you feel you even better than just taking medicine alone.
There are several things PAH patients can do with their doctor to positively impact their health and disease progression. Regular risk assessments, adding a therapy quickly if you are not low-risk status, and lifestyle changes are key ways to minimize your PAH progression and improve symptoms that can impact your ability to do everyday activities.
To learn more about PAH and what you can do about it, visit PAHInitiative.com.
This article was sponsored by the PAH Initiative, where knowledge meets inspiration. The PAH Initiative, sponsored by United Therapeutics, is dedicated to advancing patient care in pulmonary arterial hypertension.
2. Benza RL, Gomberg-Maitland M, Elliott CG, et al. Predicting Survival in Patients With Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension: The REVEAL Risk Score Calculator 2.0 and Comparison With ESC/ERS-Based Risk Assessment Strategies. Chest. 2019;156(2):323-337. doi:10.1016/j.chest.2019.02.004
3. Simons JE, Mann EB, Pierozynski A. Assessment of Risk of Disease Progression in Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension: Insights from an International Survey of Clinical Practice. Advances in Therapy. 2019;36(9):2351-2363. doi:10.1007/s12325-019-01030-4
4.Galiè N, Channick RN, Frantz RP, et al. Risk stratification and medical therapy of pulmonary arterial hypertension. The European respiratory journal. 2019;53(1). doi:10.1183/13993003.01889-2018
5. Vecchia LAD, Bussotti M. Exercise training in pulmonary arterial hypertension. Journal of Thoracic Disease. 2018;10(1):508-521. doi:10.21037/jtd.2018.01.90
6. Brostow DP, Hirsch AT, Collins TC, Kurzer MS. The role of nutrition and body composition in peripheral arterial disease. Nature Reviews Cardiology. 2012;9(11):634-643. doi:10.1038/nrcardio.2012.117
7. Kwant CT, Ruiter G, Noordegraaf AV. Malnutrition in pulmonary arterial hypertension: a possible role for dietary intervention. Current Opinion in Pulmonary Medicine. 2019;25(5):405-409. doi:10.1097/MCP.0000000000000608
8. Callejo M, Barberá JA, Duarte J, Perez-Vizcaino F. Impact of nutrition on pulmonary arterial hypertension. Nutrients. 2020;12(1). doi:10.3390/nu12010169
9. Vinke P, Jansen SM, Witkamp RF, van Norren K. Increasing quality of life in pulmonary arterial hypertension: is there a role for nutrition? Heart Failure Reviews. 2018;23(5):711-722. doi:10.1007/s10741-018-9717-9
10. Boucly A, Weatherald J, Savale L, et al. Risk assessment, prognosis and guideline implementation in pulmonary arterial hypertension. European Respiratory Journal. 2017;50(2):1700889. doi:10.1183/13993003.00889-2017
We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!
Let us improve this post!
Tell us how we can improve this post?