Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a rare condition characterized by a dramatic increase in blood pressure in the arteries and veins of the lungs, which affects the heart as a result. Symptoms of the disease include dizziness, shortness of breath and fainting, as well as decreased exercise tolerance and a significantly higher risk of heart failure.
PAH causes the blood vessels in the lungs to tighten and constrict. Over time, this causes the heart to work harder to pump blood through the lungs. It can lead to decreased blood oxygen levels and potential heart failure.
Without surgical or medical treatment, patients with PAH typically survive for two to three years after diagnosis. With treatment, however, patients can go on to lead full and healthy lives. Depending on the type of PAH you are diagnosed with, you may be able to manage it effectively with medication alone.
Living With Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension
Patients who suffer from PAH may find even small amounts of exercise can exacerbate their symptoms, leaving them dizzy or short of breath. Some patients may faint during or after exercise. While cardiovascular exercise is a good way to stay healthy, improving the condition of the heart and assisting patients with weight loss, for patients with PAH, this type of exercise can be quite dangerous. Drugs like Sildenafil may be used to help patients who suffer from the condition better tolerate exercise.
There are several types of PAH, and a full medical exam will be necessary to determine what type a patient has before a treatment plan is developed. Some patients can function with medication alone, while others may need surgical treatment to recover from the disease.
Medications for Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension
Patients who suffer from the symptoms of PAH are typically referred to a cardiologist for a complete evaluation before beginning a treatment plan. If heart failure is not imminent and surgery is not recommended, the specialist will treat the disease with medication.
The medical management of the disease may include beta blockers and diuretics, and may also include drugs such as Sildenafil that improve blood flow in the lungs, thereby reducing the workload on the heart. Proper medical management can also boost exercise ability in patients who suffer from PAH. This limits heart problems and allows patients to go about their daily activities more comfortably.
Combining Medication and Lifestyle Changes
Patients who suffer from PAH may have difficulty accomplishing daily tasks requiring physical exertion. If you have been diagnosed with this disease, you may find you are unable to clean your house, play with your children or even walk without becoming dizzy or fatigued. Essentially, any exercise or physical exertion will cause problems for you. You can work to manage your symptoms by limiting physical activity, asking friend or family members for assistance, and talking to your doctor about a treatment plan. Working with a doctor’s close supervision, patients can manage their illness with a combination of medication and lifestyle changes.
After beginning medical treatment, your doctor may allow you to begin mild exercise if you are taking a medication like Sildenafil. You may find the medication makes it easier for you to accomplish day-to-day tasks as well, such as climbing stairs, walking to the mailbox and taking out the trash. While patients with PAH may be unable to run marathons or perform overly strenuous cardiovascular exercises, they can significantly improve their quality of life by adding Sildenafil to their daily routines.
How to Save Money on Medication
Unfortunately, many American patients find that medications can be quite expensive. These medications for PAH must be taken each day, and the monthly cost of these prescriptions can end up being a burden — especially for patients who have no insurance, high prescription copays or who are required to purchase multiple medications each month.
If you are struggling to afford your medications, do some research to ensure you’re receiving your prescription drugs at the best prices available. You may be able to take your valid prescription to an online retailer, where you can buy medications at a discount. This will allow you to budget your health care dollars more effectively, enabling you to get more for your money.
Reputable websites typically offer medications — generic and brand-name alike — at lower prices than traditional U.S. pharmacies. You won’t need to worry about insurance coverage, copays or the high out-of-pocket cost of your medications. Instead, you can rest assured you’re getting high-quality generic medication for your condition at an affordable price.