November is Pulmonary Hypertension Awareness Month

November is Pulmonary Hypertension Awareness Month

11.14.2018

Vancouver, BC (November 14, 2018) — This month, the Pulmonary Hypertension Association of Canada (PHA Canada) is bringing attention to the serious impacts of pulmonary hypertension (PH) on an estimated 10,000 Canadians and their families through their ‘Life In Purple’ campaign.

PH is a very complex and serious lung disease that is progressive and potentially fatal. It can strike anyone regardless of age, gender, and background, and is often referred to as an “invisible illness” since those who have it may not always look ill.

PHA Canada’s “Life In Purple” campaign is based on results of a survey they conducted to capture the burdens of PH on Canadian patients and their caregivers. The results revealed the significant physical, social, and financial impacts that PH has on thousands of affected families in Canada, and the many sacrifices they must make to the way they lead their everyday lives. 

“Pulmonary hypertension takes a huge physical and emotional toll on patients. Most of them aren’t able to perform simple day-to-day activities, which often limits their ability to work and even maintain relationships with those around them,” says Jamie Myrah, Executive Director at PHA Canada. “People living with PH struggle to climb stairs, walk short distances, and even find it difficult to maintain a long conversation without losing their breath.”

This is as much the case for adults as it is for children and youth who live with this incurable disease. 12-year-old PH patient Mia in Ontario has—since the age of 10—had to carry around a device that keeps her alive by continuously pumping medication directly into her veins. “It’s tough being a kid with a lung disease. Simple things like running and keeping up with my friends are difficult for me. Just when I’m starting to feel ‘normal’ I’m reminded just how different I really am and it sucks.”

Currently celebrating its 10th Anniversary, PHA Canada seeks to not only achieve earlier diagnosis and better treatment of the disease, but to also unite a community of patients who are often left feeling isolated due to a condition that restricts their ability to work and socialize. PH patient and PHA Canada Ambassador Sonya Collins in Newfoundland & Labrador is on a mission to help change this.

“In Newfoundland we honestly could not be any more isolated from both the country and one another. That is why when I was diagnosed 16 years ago, I was used to dealing with the disease by myself. Social media has slowly helped change that, but we’re only now scratching the surface of the thousands of Canadians still left feeling orphaned by this terrible illness,” says Sonya.

PHA Canada invites the wider Canadian community to take part in raising awareness of PH throughout the month of November by following us on Facebook and visiting www.phacanada.ca.

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