World Pulmonary Hypertension Day Date in the current year: May 5, 2024

World Pulmonary Hypertension Day World Pulmonary Hypertension Day (WPHD), also known as World PH Day, is observed annually on May 5. It was created to raise awareness of a severe health condition that affects the lungs and heart and is frequently misdiagnosed.

Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is a health condition characterized by increased blood pressure in the pulmonary arteries (blood vessels that carry blood from the right ventricle of the heart to the lungs). Common symptoms include shortness of breath, chest pain, a fast heartbeat, fatigue, dizziness, fainting, and swelling of the limbs. Due to the symptoms being non-specific, PH is often confused with other illnesses such as asthma or COPD, and people with PH can be misdiagnosed or live for years without being diagnosed.

PH can be primary or secondary. Primary PH can be idiopathic (i.e. develop spontaneously without a known cause), heritable, induced by certain drugs and toxins (amphetamine, methamphetamine, cocaine) or radiation, or developed in association with certain conditions (congenital heart diseases, connective tissue disease, HIV, schistosomiasis). Secondary PH is a complication of other health conditions such as left heart disease, pulmonary conditions (COPD, sleep apnea, etc.), blood disorders, systemic disorders that involve the lungs, and metabolic disorders.

There is no cure for PH. Treatment is determined by the type of PH and is meant to improve quality of life and life expectancy. Untreated PH typically leads to death from right ventricular failure (pulmonary heart disease), so early and accurate diagnosis and proper treatment are crucial to increasing survival rates.

World Pulmonary Hypertension Day was created at a scientific symposium on pulmonary hypertension that was held in Madrid, Spain on May 4 and 5, 2012. It was initiated by the Spanish National Association of Pulmonary Hypertension (Asociación Nacional de Hipertensión Pulmonar, ANHP) and endorsed by 22 PH patient associations, 10 rare and affiliated disease organizations, and 8 scientific societies.

May 5 was chosen as the date for World PH Day because it marked the anniversary of the first death of a child from pulmonary hypertension in Spain. In 1981, approximately 20,000 people in Spain were affected by the ingestion of contaminated rapeseed oil that was fraudulently sold as olive oil. Of those affected, 300 died within few months of the so-called toxic oil syndrome (TOS) or its complications, which included severe pulmonary arterial hypertension.

Today, the annual World PH Day campaign is spearheaded by PHA Europe (European Pulmonary Hypertension Association) and supported by more than 80 organizations around the globe. Its main goals are to raise awareness of this frequently misdiagnosed health condition to promote early diagnosis, promote access to pulmonary hypertension treatment and care, raise funds for PH research, and support people living with PH.

You can get involved with World PH Day by learning more about the condition and sharing the facts you’ve learned with others, donating to a PH patient organization or charity that funds PH research, and spreading the word on social media with the hashtags #WorldPulmonaryHypertensionDay, #WorldPHDay and #WPHD. If you’re living with pulmonary hypertension, consider sharing your story to let other PH patients know that they are not alone in their struggles.

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