Living With Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension

( — Increasing tiredness and passing out without apparent cause sent Joy Morgan and Ken Hintz looking for answers.

Now they live on multiple expensive medications taken around the clock. Each has much less energy than their healthy outward appearances suggest, which can bring stares or worse when they park in handicapped slots.

They have pulmonary arterial hypertension, a dangerous disease attacking the pulmonary arteries that carry blood to the lungs.

Their arteries had become stiff and thick. As the arteries narrowed inside, their hearts worked harder to push enough blood through to the lungs.

Untreated, that constant extra work leads the heart to enlarge and then to fail. Medicines available so far extend and improve life, but they aren’t a cure for PAH.

“I was diagnosed back in 2005,” said Hintz, 67, who lives in Lakeland and New York.

“At that time, they gave me three years to live.”

Morgan became so swollen, and her heart so enlarged, that she was put on a waiting list for a heart and double-lung transplant when she began getting treated about six years ago at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville.


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