30 Days of PH: PAH Can Suck the Air Out of Me, But It Won’t Stop Me

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by BioNews Staff |

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A woman poses on a bridge wearing a helmet and harness for zip lining. A river and fall foliage are visible in the background.

Despite PAH, Rekha Sreedhara was determined to go on a recent zip-lining adventure. (Photo courtesy of Rekha Sreedhara)

Day 21 of 30

This is Rekha Sreedhara’s story:

I was diagnosed with lupus, a chronic autoimmune condition, in 2001 at the age of 19. Fifteen years later, in 2016, I was diagnosed with secondary pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), a result of my lupus, after experiencing severe shortness of breath.

Living with one chronic condition was hard enough, but the thought of managing another seemed impossible. But, similar to my approach to lupus, I chose not to let this condition control my life.

The last several years have been more difficult physically due to the symptoms I experience with PAH — fatigue, shortness of breath, cough, low blood pressure, and fast heart rate. However, thanks to oral medications and recognizing when I need medical attention for my PAH, my quality of life has much improved. I have also been fortunate to have an incredible pulmonologist and cardiologist who genuinely want me to have the best quality of life I can.

In the last month, my PAH has been at its worst. Even walking slowly causes me to be out of breath. I am currently working with my pulmonologist to identify a treatment option, which I’m hopeful will bring me back to a more stable state.

In the midst of all of this, my family had two vacations scheduled (our first trips since the COVID-19 pandemic started). Despite how I was feeling, I was determined to move forward with our plans. I knew it would be difficult to do the things we planned, but I kept in touch with my pulmonologist while away and went at a pace that was manageable for me. I’m glad we kept our plans because now I have an incredible zip-lining adventure and visits to four countries in my memories.

Our bodies will be tested in many ways, but with a positive mindset and the determination to keep going, it’s possible to live a fulfilling life and accomplish all you want for yourself.

Pulmonary Hypertension News’ 30 Days of PH campaign will publish one story per day for PH Awareness Month in November. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more stories like this, using the hashtag #30DaysofPH, or read the full series.

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