Pulmonary Hypertension Unit

The rising cost of breathing

Most of us take breathing for granted. Persons living with Pulmonary Hypertension (PH) do not.

In an effort to raise awareness of this devastating disease, Cobh Ramblers have agreed to wear PH T-shirts prior to their epic encounter against Dundalk on Monday evening, 6th August at 5.00 pm in St Coleman’s Park. The team also want to show their disappointment in successive governments failing to address the plight of patients who need assistance in breathing.

Many patients use oxygen to allow them breath. However running a single oxygen concentrator can incur an additional monthly expense of €30 to one’s electricity bill (€60 per billing period). Recent news of a hike in the cost of electricity is a dreadful worry to patients. It is immoral to think that no assistance is given to patients who incur this cost. Many patients are elderly whose only income is their State pension.

PH is a severe disease – it is debilitating and life-threatening. It inhibits one’s ability to perform even the simplest daily tasks (like walking up the stairs) and leaves patients tired and breathless. PH is much more common in young adults and is approximately twice as common in women as in men. With PH the arteries that carry blood from the heart to the lungs become narrowed, making it difficult for blood to flow through the vessels. Symptoms of pulmonary hypertension do not usually occur until the condition has progressed. The first symptom of PH is usually shortness of breath with everyday activities (e.g climbing the stairs) chest pain & fatigue. Persons who live with PH are challenged to breath on a daily basis. Because the condition is so rare (approx. 300 patients in Ireland), sufferers and their carers often feel isolated, lonely and frightened.

Unfortunately the condition is often misdiagnosed and mistaken for more common conditions such as asthma. If a patient is not diagnosed within 2.5 years – they will die. The Association is constantly trying to raise awareness of the condition, not only among members of the public but also among the medical profession.

The theme of PH Associations worldwide is ‘Get Breathless for PH’ we ask able bodied people to get breathless through sport and other activities in support of those who struggle to breathe on a daily basis.

We wish Cobh Ramblers the very best of luck and thank them for their help in highlighting this issue.

Further information available from Regina Prenderville, Pulmonary Hypertension Association – Ireland Tel: 087 637 6563  Email: pha@mater.ie 

Alternately you can use the contact form on this website