Fulwood father tells of diagnosis with rare disease

A father-of-four from Fulwood has warned about a rare disease.

David Stott was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension (PH) a life-limiting illness causing high blood pressure in the vessels connecting the heart and lungs.

The 40-year-old told how in the same week he was diagnosed he and his wife also found out they were expecting their fourth child.

Mr. Stott, an operating theatre manager at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, said: “I had never heard of pulmonary hypertension when I was diagnosed so I did what any 21st-century boy would do and I asked Dr. Google. And that’s when it all went black. Out of everything I’ve been through health-wise over the last four years, the memory of being told I had pulmonary hypertension is still the thing that haunts me.

“That same week I was diagnosed I found out my wife was pregnant with my fourth child. Immediately, I wondered whether I would even see my baby being born. It was very difficult. I know everyone dies eventually, but it’s very rare that you’re given a sell-by date.”

Just 7,000 of the UK’s population have PH and Mr. Stott has opened up on what it’s like living with the illness.

He said: “If anything, it’s the mental strain that I have suffered from more than the physical symptoms. It’s a draining condition that, unless you look to get support for it, has the potential to drag you down.

“When my daughter Lorien was born, seven months after I was diagnosed, she reminded me that life is never hopeless if you don’t lose hope. My children help me manage my condition by making me smile more than anything or anyone can – even when I don’t feel able to.”

Symptoms of PH involve breathlessness, fatigue, blackouts and swelling around the ankles, arms, and stomach.

The Pulmonary Hypertension Association has been working to raise awareness of the condition.

Chair of PHA UK Iain Armstrong said: “Everyday life can be very challenging for people with pulmonary hypertension and the results of this survey show just how much the condition impacts upon quality of life for patients and their loved ones. This was vital research into what it means to have PH in the UK today and it provides concrete evidence which can be used to address the crucial need for targeted treatment and specialist care.”

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