Patient Voices #BreathlessNotVoiceless

Carole Ayrton

“Pulmonary hypertension is a cruel disease”

Carole Ayrton is 67 and lives in Halifax, West Yorkshire. She was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension in 2010, three years after first experiencing symptoms.

“About three years before I was diagnosed I started getting breathless and struggling to walk, but my doctor kept saying it was asthma. When I was eventually told what it was, the consultant said the PH has progressed so much that he wasn’t sure if I would even live six weeks to see my granddaughter Izzy being born. I was devastated.

PH is a cruel disease. Breathing is difficult and I often feel dizzy, so I can’t take a bath or shower without my husband being there. I can’t cook anymore because I don’t have the strength to lift a pan, and when I don’t feel well enough to drive, I have to use a mobility scooter. Sometimes I can’t even get dressed, brush my teeth or go to the toilet without help.

Raising awareness of PH is really important so that people understand what it is. It’s an invisible illness – we look well from the outside, but if you turned us inside out, it would be a different story. People know what ‘hypertension’ is, but this isn’t high blood pressure. It’s a terminal, life-shortening illness and we will die from it unless we can find a cure.”