Pulmonary Hypertension, Diet & Nutrition
Food for Thought: Can What You Eat Affect Your Disease?
Article shared with you courtesy Pathlight PHA USA
Editors Note: In this article, Anna Hemnes, MD, Provides an overview of her 2013 webinar from PHA Classroom, "Can what you eat affect your disease state?" She highlights the metabolic role of diabetes, nutrition and exercise in PH.
PH, Sugars and Fats
Pulmonary arterial hypertension and pulmonary venous hypertension, often from left heart failure or diastolic dysfunction, are closely tied to insulin resistance, pre-diabetes and/or diabetes mellitus, which are problems in which the body's ability to move sugars into cells is impaired and blood glucose may be elevated. Often these conditions are found with obesity as well. Exactly what causes these metabolic problems and how these fat and glucose abnormalities might affect the lung's blood vessels is an active area of research and is not well understood yet. Importantly, although it has not been shown that treating glucose disorders like insulin resistance and diabetes mellitus improve PH, it is well known that treating glucose disorder like diabetes reduces cardiovascular death, kidney disease and other problems that are complications of elevated glucose in the blood.
If you have diabetes, pre-diabetes or elevated cholesterol or other blood lipid conditions and you are not being treated, you can discuss if therapy is needed with your healthcare provider. Generally primary care physicians treat these conditions, or your PH provider might help you with them. Because there are known complications for all patients with diabetes mellitus and elevated cholesterol regardless of whether patients also have PH, it is important to be treated to reduce those complications, even if doing so may not improve your PH.
If you do not have any problems with diabetes or elevated lipids, it is often still a good idea to follow a heart-healthy diet to maintain a healthy weight. There are lots of resources on following a healthy diet, but some can be found on PHA's website and also the American Heart Association's website.