Quiz: Are You on Top of Pulmonary Hypertension?

High blood pressure is always worrisome, but it's especially dangerous in the lungs. Primary pulmonary hypertension (PPH) can hamper breathing, damage the heart, and even threaten a person's life. While modern treatments can often relieve symptoms, patients have to do their part to control the disease. Do you know how to stay on top of PPH? Take this short quiz to find out.

1. People with PPH should avoid any type of exercise.

True

False

2. Most people with PPH aren't physically able to hold a job.

True

False

3. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), which of the following is a good way to relieve the symptoms of PPH?

a. Relaxation exercises

b. Extended bed rest

c. Strength training

d. All of the above

4. Which of these therapies is the best option for all patients with PPH?

a. Lung transplant

b. Calcium channel blockers (drugs that lower blood pressure)

c. Vasodilators (drugs that widen blood vessels)

d. None of the above

5. Pregnancy can be dangerous for women with PPH.

True

False

6. With proper precautions, many people with PPH can feel generally healthy.

True

False

Your Results

1. People with PPH should avoid any type of exercise.

The correct answer is: False

People with PPH may not be able to run for miles, but most can stay active and enjoy the many benefits of exercise. Many patients enjoy walking, even if they have to bring along an oxygen tank. While low-level aerobic exercises are usually safe, weight lifting is another matter. According to a report in the Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine, patients with PPH should not lift anything over 20 pounds. Your doctor can help you find an exercise routine that's right for you.

2. Most people with PPH aren't physically able to hold a job.

The correct answer is: False

According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), most people with PPH lead basically normal lives. They go to school, work, and raise families. A casual observer would never guess they have a serious disease.

3. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), which of the following is a good way to relieve the symptoms of PPH?

The correct answer is: a. Relaxation exercises

Because stress can boost blood pressure, people with PPH should do their best to stay relaxed. As reported by the NHLBI, they can also help themselves by staying away from cigarettes, eating a healthy diet, and getting plenty of rest.

4. Which of these therapies is the best option for all patients with PPH?

The correct answer is: d. None of the above

There are several effective treatments for PPH, but no single approach works for everyone. You may have to go through several trial runs before your doctor finds the treatment that's best for you.

5. Pregnancy can be dangerous for women with PPH.

The correct answer is: True

As reported in the Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine, pregnancy is too risky an option for women with PPH. Carrying a child puts too much stress on the heart's already strained right ventricle. (Older birth control pills containing large amounts of estrogen are also risky because they can cause blood clots, but newer versions seem to be much safer.) Although newer birth control pills contain less estrogen, and aren't as likely to cause blood clots, experts believe condoms, diaphragms with spermicide, and vasectomy for male partners in monogamous relationships are the safest and most effective methods of birth control for women with PPH.

6. With proper precautions, many people with PPH can feel generally healthy.

The correct answer is: True

Some patients are sicker than others. But as long as they don't overexert themselves, many patients can feel generally healthy. PPH can't be ignored, but it can be pushed into the background.

References

Gildea TR. Treatments and strategies to optimize the comprehensive management of patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension. Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine. April 20003. 70 (Supplement 1) S18-S27.

National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. Primary Pulmonary Hypertension. November 1996.

American Heart Association. Primary or unexplained pulmonary hypertension. 2002.

Cleveland Clinic. Pulmonary Hypertension. January 2004.

Pulmonary Hypertension Association. Consensus Statements: Birth Control and Hormonal Therapy in Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension.

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