Kelowna resident raises awareness of rare lung disease | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kelowna resident raises awareness of rare lung disease

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November 08, 2016 - 2:30 PM

Brenda Larwill, a Kelowna resident who is currently waiting to receive a double lung transplant, is raising awareness of pulmonary hypertension (PH), a rare, progressive, and potentially fatal lung disease, for November PH Awareness Month.

Larwill wishes to share her story with local media to inform others of the signs and symptoms of pulmonary hypertension and the impacts of the disease. Her hope is that raising awareness of the condition will help others who may be affected by pulmonary hypertension get diagnosed.

Because PH is a rare condition, many people living with the disease may not be properly diagnosed or may only be diagnosed at an advanced stage of the disease.

Brenda Larwill was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension (IPAH), a type of pulmonary hypertension, at the age of 38. An active person, Larwill enjoyed biking, swimming, and hiking until she started experiencing symptoms such as shortness of breath, fatigue, and bluish lips. When she received a diagnosis of pulmonary hypertension, Brenda Larwill was in early stages of heart failure and was given three months to live.

Thankfully, 3.5 years later she is able to share her story and raise awareness of PH in the hope that others suffering from the disease can get properly diagnosed and access treatment to slow disease progression and manage symptoms.

Brenda Larwill has been on the double lung transplant list for two years now, and is awaiting the set of lungs that will save her life. She hopes that, by sharing her story, she will also raise awareness of the need for organ donation and will inspire people in her community to register to be organ donors. 

Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is a rare but very complex and serious lung disease, which is progressive and potentially fatal. PH is defined by high blood pressure in the lungs, which leads to enlargement and weakness of the right-side of the heart—a serious type of heart failure. PH shares a number of its symptoms with other conditions, resulting in many people being misdiagnosed.

Without treatment, the average life expectancy of someone with PH is less than three years. Alarmingly, many patients spend two to three years seeking an accurate diagnosis.

While there is currently no cure for PH, thanks to available treatments, many patients are living longer, healthier lives.

News from © iNFOnews, 2016

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