I was diagnosed with PAH in June, 2011 at the age of 57. I had always been very athletic and felt myself slowing down. I would walk miles just listening to music. More and more, I didn't feel up to taking those walks. I started feeling extremely tired so I stopped working out. I started to gain weight and I contributed my tiredness to the weight gain. In June of 2009, I was admitted to the Emergency Room after becoming so short of breath I could not walk. I went to my doctor's office. She started writing a prescription for an "asthma inhaler" and told me I needed to lose weight. As an after thought, she had me walk from the examination room to her reception area and then tested my O2 (less than 50 feet there and back). After my O2 reading, she wrote out a prescription and told me to go directly to the hospital emergency room where I would be admitted. I was given Lasix treatments while hospitalized. I also saw a cardiologist. I was diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure. I was told my heart was enlarged. I lost 16 pounds after those treatments.
Over the next year, I started noticing I still couldn't walk very short distances without getting short of breath and feeling pains in my chest and I couldn't breathe when laying down. I started experiencing dizzy spells with the slightest movement. Walking from my bedroom to the kitchen I experienced this loss of breath more and more then finally the dizzy spells came with normal movement. I couldn't walk from my office at work to the restroom halfway down the hall without getting dizzy. I would grab the wall or whatever I could hold onto then finally I passed out on the street while walking 2 blocks from my job to the bus line. I finally switched doctors after that, she wasn't listening to me. She kept trying to refer me here and there when I didn't feel like her treatments or referrals were addressing my issue. My brother-in-law referred me to his doctor who, as it turns out, was a pulmonologist. First time I saw him he said he was a pulmonologist and that he also practiced General Medicine. Wanted to know which one I was there for. I told him I believe I had some pulmonary issues. He scheduled me for several pulmonary tests over the next several months. In May of 2011, I was taken to the Emergency Room where I was admitted after becoming so sick to my stomach. I couldn't keep anything down for three days and was experiencing severe stomach pains. I couldn't eat while hospitalized (lost even more weight), I developed a sensitivity to smells (colognes) would make me sick to my stomach. After several days of testing, my doctor told me I had "pulmonary hypertension." He referred me to the University of Chicago Hospitals Pulmonary Hypertension Specialty Clinic. I received very extensive testing. X-Rays, Nuclear Tests, Echo Cardiograms MRI's, RL Heart Cath. Finally, I was diagnosed with "Idiopathic Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension." My doctor advised that it could be Hereditary or Environmental.