Teenager needs a triple organ transplant after a rare condition has left her with the ‘heart and lungs of a pensioner’
- Yasmin Swift suffers from idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension
- Diagnosed two years after she became breathless when climbing the stairs
- Is on the strongest medication available; delivered by an IV pump 24/7
A teenager needs a triple organ transplant after a rare condition has left her with the organs of a ‘pensioner’.
Yasmin Swift, 19, from Ashford, Kent, needs a double lung and a heart transplant because of her idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension.
Doctors were initially baffled when the former cheerleader began struggling to breathe after climbing a flight of stairs and experiencing severe chest pain.
After finally being diagnosed last November, the trainee hairdresser is now on the strongest medication she can get, which is delivered by an IV pump 24 hours a day.
However, this does little to ease her suffering, with the teenager’s life being turned upside down as she has been left too exhausted to go out dancing or to festivals with her friends.
Teenager Yasmin Swift needs a triple organ transplant after a condition has left her with the heart and lungs of a ‘pensioner’. She was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension last year after she struggled to climb the stairs without becoming breathless
Miss Swift posted a picture of herself on Instagram receiving oxygen, which she says she has to have while she sleeps. The tubes cause her to wake with a dried out nose and a mark on her face that only fades hours later. She adds, however, she is ‘very happy’ to be kept alive
Speaking of her symptoms, Miss Swift said: ‘It was about a year ago that I started getting really unwell and I started feeling really short of breath, literally just going up a flight of stairs.
‘I had to stop. I felt really tired all the time. I started feeling quite faint as well and I would get chest pains.
‘My legs started really swelling up but I kept getting sent away from the doctors.’
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Despite finally being diagnosed and receiving treatment, Miss Swift says the medication does little to ease her suffering.
‘They put me on medication that was strongest for me but it didn’t do much,’ she said.
‘The next thing will be the lung transplant and maybe a heart transplant. But you never know what might happen. I will just enjoy what I have and not worry about what I don’t.’
‘It’s a very varied condition though, that’s the hard thing.
‘Sometimes you can do loads, you can walk for ten minutes at a steady pace, but then other days you just stay on the sofa all day.’
The teenager hit headlines in July after a driver left a rude note on her windscreen saying she had parked illegally in a disabled spot, despite her blue badge, and threatened to report her
She took to Facebook showing her badge and urging others not to judge on appearances
The teenager hit headlines in July after a driver left a rude note on her windscreen saying she had parked illegally in a disabled spot despite her blue badge.
Miss Swift posed the note on Facebook, with it claiming she was ‘not disabled’ and threatening to alert the authorities.
WHAT IS IDIOPATHIC PULMONARY ARTERIAL HYPERTENSION?
Idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension is defined as high blood pressure in the arteries of the lungs for no apparent reason.
It typically gets worse over time and can be fatal if it leads to heart failure.
IPAH affects up to one in 67,000 people.
In severe cases, it has a life expectancy of around 10 years after diagnosis.
Most sufferers are diagnosed in their 40s, with the condition being twice as common in women as men.
Early symptoms may include:
- Chest pain
- Heart palpitations
- Loss of consciousness
- Fluid accumulating in the feet and lower legs
Medication is available to lower blood pressure and make breathing easier.
In severe cases, a heart or lung transplant may be required.
However, these carry risks of the organs being rejected or causing infections.
Pregnancy is generally not recommended for IPAH patients due to the extra load it puts on the heart.
‘It makes you angry that people judge you on your appearance and don’t know what you go through on a day-to-day basis to get to that point where you can go out and enjoy yourself,’ Miss Swift said.
‘I wish people wouldn’t judge people by their appearance but I know it’s easy to say that.’
Although Miss Swift, who was a cheerleader at secondary school, looks like any other teenage girl, she claims her life has been turned upside down since her diagnosis.
‘I used to love going to the gym, I used to go about five times a week,’ she said.
‘And I used to love dancing too and going to festivals. I would be out every weekend but I have had to stop that massively.
‘I’m with my friends for takeaway nights and if there’s a birthday I would be there, I don’t want to miss out on things like that.
‘But the going out clubbing every weekend, I do miss it. I was always the one there having the most fun time because I love dancing.’
Although Miss Swift managed to go to a festival this year, she was forced to use disabled access.
‘It really took it out of me for days afterwards too,’ she said.
Going on holiday has also become a struggle as Miss Swift finds it difficult to breathe in the heat.
She is aiming to raise awareness of her condition by posting about it on her Instagram page.
Her family and friends have also been raising money for Pulminary Hypertension Association UK, which has been supporting Miss Swift since her diagnosis.
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