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      Norway woman with rare pulmonary disease adjusts to different life

      Dizziness, fatigue, and short breath. Theyâ??re all symptoms that can be associated with Pulmonary Hypertension, a rare disease that can affect the functions of the heart.

      â??One morning I was getting up ready for work and I collapsed,â?? said Katie Johnson, a Norway resident with Pulmonary Hypertension.

      Johnson thought it was just another sign of the fatigue she was feeling after having her son, Gavin. But after that collapse, she went to her doctor, only to find out she suffers from Pulmonary Hypertension.

      â??When I first got sick, I couldn't even walk maybe ten feet and I was out of breath,â?? Johnson said.

      â??Pulmonary Hypertension is an elevation of the pressure of the pulmonary artery which is the artery that leads from the heart into the lungs,â?? said Family Physician, Dr. Beth Schroeder.

      When that pressure builds up, it puts strain on the heart, which can lead to a loss of energy like Katie was experiencing. After receiving her diagnosis, Katie underwent different treatments, and is now on a central line IV pump that is connected to a hole in her chest continually.

      â??Iâ??m mostly better for daily activities. I don't take anything for granted anymore. Usually when I clean, Iâ??ll do one room a day and then the rest of my energy I use up on Gavin,â?? Johnson said.

      Since symptoms of Pulmonary Hypertension can sometimes be attributed to aging or being out of shape, it can oftentimes go undiagnosed. Though the disease is rare, it is always wise to check with a doctor if you're regularly experiencing these symptoms.

      â??If Pulmonary Hypertension is not treated, it's progressive and eventually fatal. If treated, these people can lead pretty normal lives, although they're a bit restricted,â?? Schroeder said.

      May 5 is World Pulmonary Hypertension Day, and Katie says she'll continue to connect with others who struggle with the disease.

      â??I actually just recently got on support groups on Facebook. Iâ??ve met people from Ireland, Australia, and California,â?? Johnson said.

      If you would like more information on Pulmonary Hypertension, you can visit the Centers for Disease Control website here.