Rosanne’s PH Story: Exercise-Induced PH
My story is a little different than other PH patients. When I was closing in on the age of 40, I decided to start running. It was challenging at first but I grew to love the sport. But then after about a year that I was having some difficulty with shortness of breath, and my heart rate was elevated during my runs. I also noticed the same symptoms with climbing a flight of stairs. I went to a my doctor and he suggested I see a cardiologist but I decided to go see a pulmonologist. He ordered a PFT and the results were normal. He told me that I was fine and that I should be thankful that I could run a mile. I left that office discouraged but I swore I would not give up running.
A year later, my family moved to RI. I went running with a group and found that I was unable to keep up, having to stop more frequently. When I discussed this with my rheumotologist he promptly applied an O2 sat monitor and took me walking up a flight of stairs. My HR was elevated and I was slightly short of breath. He then called a pulmonologist and tests were ordered.
After some preliminary testing I had a Baird 2 study. In Jan 2006, I was diagnosed with exercise-induced PH. I was started on a Ca channel blocker but it did not improve my symptoms. Then in May, I was started on an oral PH medication. Within a month I was feeling so much better. Climbing a flight of stairs was once again easy. I was able to run 4 miles without stopping.
To this day I remain a runner. I continue to train and I have been able to run a couple of half marathons. I am hoping that I am able to complete a marathon. I was to run my first in Oct but due to a foot injury I have not been able to start the necessary training. So, this summer I have been biking. I am enjoying this sport as it keeps my outdoors and allows me to keep my fitness level.
I am so very grateful for the early diagnosis and treatment as I am able to continue to run and now cycle. I am very passionate about getting the word out for an early PH diagnosis.