Former Blackfoot woman seeks to raise awareness of rare heart disease
Angela Mack is on a quest.
Being diagnosed a year ago with severe primary pulmonary arterial hypertension has given her the drive and motivation to tell the world about the disease that has severely altered her life as a young single mother.
Mack moved to Idaho 6 years ago to start life over after a divorce in another state.
While living in Blackfoo, Mack began getting sick frequently and sought help from the doctors at Cedar Creek. After going to see Dr. Shields Stutts in November of 2011 for a right heart catheter procedure, the doctor sent her to the University of Utah for extremely high and abnormal blood pressure.
At the U of U, a team of doctors tried to solve Mack's condition. After several failed attempts doctors finally found a slight resolution in the preliminary medication called nitrous oxygen.
It will be about 2 years before the medication will be approved through the Food and Drug Administration. So now Mack is waiting for its approval. In the meantime she takes other medications to balance the blood pressure in her heart.
"This has impacted my life so much." said Mack of the illness, " I want to get the word out on this disease because it is life-threatening; there is no cure and very little awareness and only a handful of causes."
Doctors have been unable to determine a cause for the sudden onset of the disease in Mack's case.
Mack is attached to an oxygen tank and goes to Utah for testing on a regular basis. She also has regular checkups twice a month.
"I am not able to play with my daughter as much as I would love to." said Mack, "I am on oxygen full time so it makes it hard to carry the tanks at times, especially in the wintertime. The hoses get so cold and the cold air takes my breath away."
Mack hopes to raise more awareness this summer by having a fundraiser event at Jensen Grove.
"I would like to maybe get Idaho Fish and Game and the City of Blackfoot to host a fundraiser doing all kinds of games," said Mack "Of course, my favorite is fishing since I can do that sitting and not running out of oxygen and being outside."
Mack now lives in Roberts but comes to Blackfoot to visit her doctors at Cedar Creek.
To find out more about severe primary pulmonary arterial hypertension go to www.facebook.com/PrimaryPulmonaryArterialHypertension.