Although medical treatment can't cure pulmonary hypertension, it can lessen symptoms. Lifestyle changes also can help improve your condition. Consider these tips:
- Get plenty of rest. Resting can reduce the fatigue that might come from having pulmonary hypertension.
Stay as active as possible. Even the mildest forms of activity might be too exhausting for some people who have pulmonary hypertension. For others, moderate exercise such as walking might be beneficial — especially when done with oxygen. But first, talk to your doctor about specific exercise restrictions.
In most cases, it's recommended that you not lift heavy weights. Your doctor can help you plan an appropriate exercise program.
- Don't smoke. If you smoke, the most important thing you can do for your heart and lungs is to stop. If you can't stop smoking by yourself, ask your doctor to prescribe a treatment plan to help you quit. Also, avoid secondhand smoke if possible.
- Avoid pregnancy and birth control pills. If you're a woman of childbearing age, avoid pregnancy. Pregnancy can be life-threatening for both you and your baby. Also avoid using birth control pills, which can increase your risk of blood clots. Talk to your doctor about alternative forms of birth control. If you do become pregnant, it's important to consult with your doctor as pulmonary hypertension can cause serious complications to both you and the fetus.
- Avoid traveling to or living at high altitudes. High altitudes can worsen the symptoms of pulmonary hypertension. If you live at an altitude of 8,000 feet (2,438 meters) or higher, your doctor might recommend that you move to a lower altitude.
- Avoid situations that can excessively lower blood pressure. These include sitting in a hot tub or sauna or taking long hot baths or showers. These activities lower your blood pressure and can cause fainting or even death. Also avoid activities that cause prolonged straining, such as lifting heavy objects or weights.
- Follow a nutritious diet and stay at a healthy weight. Aim to eat a healthy diet of whole grains, a variety of fruits and vegetables, lean meats and low-fat dairy products. Avoid saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol. It's likely your doctor will recommend limiting the amount of salt in your diet. Aim to maintain a healthy weight.
- Ask your doctor about medications. Take all your medications as prescribed. Ask your doctor about any other medications before taking them, as some can interfere with your medication or worsen your condition.
- See your doctor at follow-up appointments. Your doctor may recommend regular follow-up appointments. Let your doctor know if you have any questions about your condition or medications you're taking, or if you have any symptoms or side effects from your medications. If pulmonary hypertension is affecting your quality of life, ask your doctor about options that could improve your quality of life.
- Get vaccines. Your doctor may recommend getting an influenza and pneumonia vaccine, as these conditions can cause serious issues for people with pulmonary hypertension.
- Get support. If you're feeling stressed or worried due to your condition, get support from family or friends. Or, consider joining a support group with others who have pulmonary hypertension.
March 22, 2016
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