Mayor signs first proclamation, supporting often-misdiagnosed disease


Brandon's newly elected mayor, Shari Decter-Hirst, singed her first proclamation Nov. 10, marking the week of Nov. 14-20 as Pulmonary Hypertension Awareness Week.

The proclamation was spurred by two Brandon residents, Diane McGuire and Eleanor Skrumeda, who have lived with the disease for seven years.

"Twenty five years ago pulmonary hypertension [PH] patients had a 50 per cent chance of surviving just 2.8 years past diagnosis," the two said in a press release.

"But with new treatmentoptions and the care of a PH specialist, more patients are living longer."
PH is a rare, life-threatening illness that with certain life-style changes can see many patients lead active, full lives. The disease affects people of all ages, races and ethnic backgrounds. Up to 5,000 people have been diagnosed, but as many as 10,000 may be affected. PH is caused by high blood pressure in the arteries of the lungs, which can lead to heart failure. Research shows that lack of awareness plays a major role in delaying a correct, year-long diagnosis -- PH is often misdiagnosed as asthma, congestive heart disease, or chronic bronchitis. Symptoms include dizziness, loss of energy, depression and dry cough.

To commemorate international PH Awareness Month in November, the Lung Association tried to get 40,000 people world-wide to provide blue lipstick prints to help set a new Guinness World record. Blue lips, or cyanosis, is a frequent sign of PH.

For more information on PH, visit the Manitoba Pulmonary Hypertension Support Group's website at


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