Daily life with PH
Everyday life can feel difficult when you’ve got pulmonary hypertension – with symptoms like lethargy, dizziness and breathlessness impacting upon even the smallest of tasks.
But there are things you can do to make life a little easier, and we love to hear from patients keen to tell us the tips and tricks they have found to overcome hurdles.
Here, Asha Sagoo, who was diagnosed with PH in 2015, shares her advice for living more comfortably with PH.
Negotiating the stairs
I avoid going up the stairs immediately after coming down, so I bring everything I need down with me in the morning and only make one trip upstairs when I’m ready for bed.
I used to buy six pint bottles of milk but found them too heavy, causing extra strain to my heart. I now only buy four-pint milk bottles. This is the same for carrying all heavy groceries, and unfortunately includes carrying my children too!
Cooking for your children
If you have young kids like me, you’ll know how difficult it is to prepare a family meal. My chronic fatigue comes without warning so I cook as much as I can in the morning when my body has more energy to cope.
Doing the housework
I also do the housework in the mornings when my energy levels are at their highest, and if it can’t be done I’ve learned to let it go. If you can afford to, employ a cleaner to help you with bending-down jobs like dusting the skirting boards and cleaning the bathroom.
Take your time
I don’t rush through life, even if I’m having a good day.
Accept any help
I never say no to help even if I’m feeling ok, and try to save that energy for spending time with my children or doing other important things.
Take care of your body
I avoid bending down or lowering my head below my heart – it exhausts me and makes me very breathless.
Plan as much as you can
I never used to plan before my diagnosis, but now I have to plan my week and even my day. For example, if I go into town on a Monday, the next day my body will need to recover so I might spend the day with a late morning watching a film in bed, and take time off from phones and the internet.
Loading and unloading the washing machine
It helps me to sit on a small stool when doing the washing so I’m not bending down.
Rearranging your kitchen
I’ve re-arranged my kitchen cupboards to place items that I use daily at eye level, which avoids unnecessary bending down.
Bad hair days
Greasy hair days are now inevitable – sometimes you just have to let it go and do it when you have the energy. For a long time, I couldn’t adapt to greasy hair days so I rang my local hairdresser and they only charged £5 for a wash and blow dry. It made a lot of difference to how I felt and saved some of my energy for my children.
I’ve switched from carrying shoulder handbags to small rucksacks – there are some really stylish ones available. I found that this relieved the pressure from my shoulders and heart and I hardly noticed any discomfort with the rucksack on my back. It also keeps my hands free.
Getting out of the shower
After a shower I am extremely tired. To help, I find drying with a lightweight towel works well before putting on a towelled dressing gown. I now try to shower in the morning as I’m exhausted if I have a shower in the evening or before I go to bed.
Getting a good night’s sleep
I find drinking warm milk before bed aids good sleep, as does sleeping with two pillows and using a v-shaped pregnancy cushion.