5 May is World Pulmonary Hypertension Day!
The recognition and declaration of a World Pulmonary Hypertension Day is a step forward in the consolidation of a worldwide PH awareness. World PH Day will focus on the importance of improving the quality of life and life expectancy of more than 25 million people living with PH worldwide. Pulmonary hypertension can be a fatal disease that is difficult to diagnose. There are many types of PH, including idiopathic and hereditary PH, which are considered rare diseases. However, PH is most commonly the result of other health problems.
Regardless of type, pulmonary hypertension is defined as an increase in blood pressure in the pulmonary artery, pulmonary veins or pulmonary capillaries, together known as the lung vasculature. It is a severe disease with a markedly decreased exercise tolerance; pulmonary hypertension can also eventually lead to heart failure.
During the celebration of World PH Day the patients' organizations will launch messages on the need to:
- Increase awareness and disseminate knowledge of the disease to facilitate early diagnosis. Early diagnosis is important in decreasing premature PH-related deaths.
- Promote access to specific healthcare and treatments that increase quality of life and life expectancy.
- Promote the concept of treating PH patients as a whole, which includes treating their physical, psychological and social issues.
- Unify international criteria for the recognition of Centers of Excellence in PH.
- Promote research that will help find the cure for pulmonary hypertension.
In 2012, a program and a scientific symposium were held in Madrid, Spain as the first World PH Day celebration. The day was officially endorsed by 22 patient associations, 10 rare and affiliated disease organizations, and 8 scientific societies.
May 5 was originally chosen as World PH Day because it is the anniversary of the first child's death in Spain from pulmonary hypertension as a result of toxic rapeseed oil more than 30 years ago.