Patients with pulmonary hypertension will also need to take special care in other areas due to their medical condition.
Smoking cessation and exercise Pulmonary hypertension patients who smoke should kick the habit to prevent the condition from worsening. While an active lifestyle is encouraged, pulmonary hypertension patients are advised to avoid isometric exercises (e.g. planks and bridges) and activities associated with elevated pulmonary arterial blood pressure levels.
Travel Pulmonary hypertension patients are advised to consult their doctors on their travel plans as they will need to avoid long flights and high altitude places as oxygen concentration levels are low.Over-the-counter drugs These should be taken with extra care as some drugs may interact with blood thinners (e.g. warfarin) taken by patients, while sedative drugs can cause adverse effects. Patients are advised to check with their cardiologist.
Pregnancy Pregnancy may put women with pulmonary hypertension at greater risk and may even endanger their lives. Hence, it is advisable to avoid pregnancy through safe and effective contraception. Some oral contraceptives, however, may cause more complications and patients should speak with their cardiologists regarding suitable options for contraception.
Long term oxygen therapy Supplementary oxygen may be beneficial during the advanced stages of pulmonary hypertension and patients may need to use it at night or when they get breathless during the day.
VaccinationVaccination against pneumococcal pneumonia and flu are recommended as these conditions can be devastating for patients with pulmonary hypertension.
Dental Hygiene Poor dental care can result in infections that may exacerbate pulmonary hypertension. It is recommended that patients go for yearly dental checks and be diligent in maintaining good dental hygiene with regular and proper brushing and flossing of teeth.
Despite the lifestyle limitations associated with pulmonary hypertension, patients with the condition can still enjoy a fulfilling life by taking appropriate measures and precautions. Beyond existing treatment options, researchers are working hard to advance their knowledge of the disease mechanism behind pulmonary hypertension and develop better treatments for it.
Patients can visit
www.phassociation.org for more information on pulmonary hypertension and its global community of patients, caregivers and healthcare professionals.
NHCS runs a monthly pulmonary hypertension clinic - a joint clinic run by cardiologists from NHCS together with respiratory physicians and rheumatologists from the Singapore General Hospital (SGH) with the assistance of trained and specialised pulmonary hypertension nurses. The pulmonary hypertension clinic provides a comprehensive and seamless care for PAH patients as they enjoy the convenience of seeing three specialists in one clinic session. It also allows the multidisciplinary team to discuss and manage complex PAH patients in the same setting.
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