Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension and Diet: What You Need to Know

According to a story from Pulmonary Hypertension News, pulmonary arterial hypertension and its variants can ultimately result in a cascade of impacts on other areas of the body, including the digestive system, cardiovascular system, and kidneys. These effects can have significant impacts on health and nutrient absorption. A recent study published last month investigated malnutrition in pulmonary arterial hypertension patients and found that side effects of medication, changes to the gut microbiome, and gastrointestinal edema all had negative impacts on nutrient absorption.

About Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH)

Pulmonary arterial hypertension is a condition in which the blood pressure in the arteries of the lungs is abnormally high. The cause of pulmonary arterial hypertension is often unknown in many cases. However, there are a variety of potential causes, such as certain heritable genetic mutations, exposure to certain toxins, and drug use (ex. methamphetamine). It can also appear as a symptom or complication in a number of other diseases, such as heart disease, connective tissue disease, and infection with HIV. The arteries in the lungs are often inflamed. Symptoms of this condition include rapid heartbeat, poor exercise tolerance, shortness of breath, fainting, leg swelling, fatigue, and chest pain. Treatment may include a number of medications and surgical operations, including lung transplant. A transplant can cure the condition, but it can cause many complications. Survival rate is often only about two or three years without treatment, but the latest drugs can prolong life by several years or more. Click here to learn more about pulmonary arterial hypertension.

Dieting With Pulmonary Hypertension

Patients with these conditions should consider alterations to diet in order to counteract the effects of medication and the disease and promote the absorption of nutrients. Here some guidelines that patients can follow.

  • Consider vitamin D supplementation, which may actually have benefits in improving disease symptoms.
  • Avoid smoothies and limit salt consumption to 2,000 mg per day. 8 cups of water per day is also recommended.
  • Be vigilant about late night snacks and portion sizes.
  • A Mediterranean style diet may be beneficial. Think leafy greens, lean protein, high-fiber whole grains, nuts, olive oil, and avocados.
  • Low glycemic food items, like broccoli and apples, should be included.
  • Avoid convenience and pre-packaged foods, which often have excess sodium
  • Consider adding pre/pro-biotic food items, like Greek yogurt, pickled fruits and vegetables, and kefir.

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