9 Pulmonary Hypertension FAQs

Marta Ribeiro avatar

by Marta Ribeiro |

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Living with pulmonary hypertension can be quite difficult, especially if you’re a newly diagnosed patient. It’s a rare condition, so patients often have a long list of questions they need answered.

To save you some time, we’ve put together nine of the most frequently asked questions concerning PH (source: Pulmonary Hypertension Association):

1. What causes pulmonary hypertension? 
Most of the time it’s impossible to identify the cause of PH and in those cases, it’s called idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension. If you suffer from other health conditions, such as scleroderma, HIV, liver disease (among others), pulmonary hypertension can also develop.

2. How does my doctor know I have PH? 
Since this is a disease that can be extremely hard to diagnose in a routine medical exam, it’s not easy to get an accurate diagnosis. To help your physician diagnose you correctly, you will probably have to have some specialized tests, such as a pulmonary function test and an echocardiogram, to determine if you have PH or not. However, sometimes a patient’s pulmonary pressures appear normal on an echocardiogram, despite actually having pulmonary hypertension. It’s for this reason that doctors often ask patients to have a right-heart cathertization, which is known as the gold standard for diagnosing PH.

3. Could PH run in my family? 
Although pulmonary hypertension can be inherited, it’s relatively uncommon.

MORE: How is pulmonary hypertension diagnosed?

4. What types of doctors treat PH?
Patients are encouraged to see a cardiologist and pulmonologist to get the right treatment for PH.

5. How can I find a doctor to treat my PH?
There are several ways to look for the best doctor to treat your PH. One way is to search for a physician through PHA’s Find a Doctor directory.

6. What medications are available to treat PH?
Although there is still no known cure for pulmonary hypertension, there are a number of medications that are available to treat it and alleviate symptoms. These can be administered in several ways: directly into the vein, beneath the skin, orally, and by inhalation.

MORE: Seven medications doctors often use to treat PH

7. How will my doctor determine which treatment is best for me?
After you receive an accurate diagnosis, there are some things your physician will have to take into consideration, such as the severity of your illness and the results of your cardiac catheterization. It’s only after those results that doctors will be able to determine which treatment and/or medication will be right for you.

8. What’s the outlook for someone with PH?
Every PH patient is different and research is constantly evolving when it comes to discovering new treatment options and medications. With that said, your PH journey will depend on many factors, including the severity of your disease and how you respond to treatment.

9. How will PH affect my life?
It’s obvious that your life is going to change dramatically after you’re diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension. Needless to say, you will have to make some lifestyle changes and adjustments in order to improve your life and adapt to your health condition.

MORE: How to create and organize your emergency kit

Pulmonary Hypertension News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.