Friday, 2 May 2014

Genetics may be the Heart of the Matter

It's May already and although the first of May has started off wet and cool it can often be a glorious month, so I am really looking forward to it. The forecast for the first bank holiday of the month and this weekend is looking good. I'm now seven months post transplant and still doing incredibly well.

I had a bit of a blip with my lung function levels during the Easter period, which went a bit haywire and dropped a lot more than they should, but as everything else showed up totally fine I just had to keep a careful watch on things to make sure they didn't continue declining. It was put down to my reduction in steroids, which the team had reduced on my last visit. I ended up missing the PH conference because of it, but decided it safest to err on the side of caution, as I wasn't sure if I was coming down with something or not and my immune system is already very low. I didn't want to risk the chance of infection as the conference is very busy with lots of people, but I was disappointed to miss my friends. My lung function readings are now much better again and back to where they were, so I think I did the right thing.

This month there is a feature on the genetics of Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension in the British Heart Foundation magazine, 'Heart Matters' and Professor Morrell, who is heading the research, explains all about it. I was also interviewed for this feature, having had Idiopathic Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension before my transplant and having been tested to see if I carry the known genes that can be an indicator that it may be in the family. The research work is a continuing process, but there is hope that there may be a breakthrough, which will enable the development of future drugs to help all PH sufferers. The British Heart Foundation have given generous funding to enable this research. Below are the links to the articles.

A cure or breakthrough cannot come too soon. Some of my friends are really suffering with this disease. Several are waiting for transplants and are having to face long waits because of the shortage of organ donors and then they will have to go through the process of the transplant and the ongoing care and drugs that are required afterwards. If a cure could be found or better drugs to control the condition then patients wouldn't have to face these options. 

Some of my friends are coping with other diseases, such as Lupus, which has also caused their PH. Others have PH through having bloods clots on their lungs and although they have had their PH improved through having the Pulmonary Endarterectomy operation to remove the clots, some of the clots are too distal for removal, so they still have to cope with PH. Many PH patients are not eligible to have a transplant, so the biggest hope is that a cure can be found or a breakthrough that can help the treatment of PH more efficiently. 

We all live in hope for this day and for a breakthrough to come soon. 

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