Today is World Pulmonary Hypertension Day, an international day of awareness for a dreaded, oft-misdiagnosed disease, which can make people short of breath and lead to heart failure.
Approximately 200,000 Americans are admitted annually to hospitals with a pulmonary hypertension diagnosis. Affecting men and women of all ages, it is often mistaken for more common diseases, leading to delays in potentially life-saving treatment.
As a pulmonologist and a member of Team PHenomenal Hope cycling team, I share a passion with my colleagues, teammates and the PH community to raise awareness about this disease. In June, our team will bike in the 3,000-mile Race Across America in less than nine days in honor of those affected by PH.
Why? Because these people are our friends, our patients, our neighbors, our family, living with a disease for which there is yet no cure. They are the soccer mom who requires oxygen and an IV medication pumping 24/7. They are the boy with sickle cell disease who underwent lung transplant with dreams of one day pursuing his art. They are the woman who takes oral medications, working full-time and biking on the trails.
So on World PH Day, we honor those affected by this disease. In six weeks, we will dedicate the race of our lives to our “PHriends” in the race of theirs. For more information about pulmonary hypertension, Team PHenomenal Hope and how you can make a difference on Tuesday’s National Day of Giving or any day, please check out: phassociation.org and teamphenomenalhope.org.
PATRICIA GEORGE, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh
The writer is a member of the Pulmonary Hypertension Association and captain of Team PHenomenal Hope.