PAH does not define you.
Our company was founded by the parents of a child diagnosed with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). At the time, they found themselves faced with a lack of information about the disease, limited treatment options, and no place to turn for help from others in the same situation. Now, it is our commitment to provide PAH patients with information, support, and resources. Living PAH is a place to learn more about PAH and find the answers that can empower your decisions.
To understand PAH, you should first know how the heart and lungs work together to get oxygen to your body.
Heart and Lungs Work Together
Normally, the right side of your heart pumps blood through your pulmonary artery into your lungs. The blood picks up oxygen in the lungs. The left side of your heart receives this oxygen-rich blood from your lungs and pumps it to the rest of your body.
But PAH makes this more difficult.
Less Flow, More Resistance
PAH causes the millions of tiny blood vessels in your lungs to harden and narrow. Therefore, less blood is able to flow from your heart to your lungs. This creates resistance in your heart and pulmonary arteries.
As a result of this resistance, the right side of your heart has to work harder to pump blood to your lungs. This resistance increases the strain on your heart and causes the right side of your heart to become enlarged.
PAH also causes high blood pressure in the pulmonary artery that carries blood from your heart to your lungs. The high blood pressure is the hypertension part of pulmonary arterial hypertension.
This Means Less Oxygen
Because less blood is getting through your lungs, it cannot pick up enough oxygen to carry to the rest of your body. That’s why you may experience symptoms like shortness of breath or fatigue with activity.
PAH is a progressive disease, which means it can get worse as time passes. As your PAH progresses, there will be changes happening inside your body. You may not be able to feel all the changes, but you might notice their effects when you are not able to fully participate in all of your normal activities.
Follow these links to learn more about other topics related to PAH:
With PAH, less blood is able to pass through the blood vessels of the lungs and carry oxygen to the rest of the body.
2. Blood Vessels
The blood vessels harden and narrow, making it difficult for blood to flow through them.
The right side of the heart has to pump harder to push blood through the lungs. This causes the right side of the heart to become enlarged. In turn, this puts a strain on the heart, weakening it over time, which can prevent the right side of the heart from functioning properly and, eventually, lead to failure.