A Bromley woman living with a rare lung disease is backing a national awareness week to help more people understand her condition.

Amy Fraser, 25, was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension (PH) two years ago.

The life-shortening disease, which affects just 7000 people in the UK, causes high pressure in the blood vessels connecting the heart and lungs.

Symptoms include severe breathlessness, fatigue, blackouts and swelling around the ankles, arms and stomach and there is no cure.

PH Awareness Week takes place November 4-10 and has been organised by the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA UK), a national charity that supports those with the condition.

Amy suffered with symptoms for six years before she was diagnosed with PH, as doctors repeatedly put her breathlessness down to having asthma.

A blackout resulted in a broken jaw and moving around became so hard that she was unable to put on her shoes.

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Eventually, tests revealed pulmonary hypertension - a condition Amy had never heard of.

Amy said: “It was all such a shock. I felt like everything was falling apart; I’ve always been healthy, and I just didn’t expect this to happen to me.”

Amy now takes medication to help control the symptoms and is able to work as an account handler in Orpington, but she still struggles with the lack of awareness around the condition.

She said: “From the outside, you wouldn’t think there was anything wrong with me. People don’t realise that I have to take things slowly, which is hard when I’m so young.

"It does make me feel like I’m on my own sometimes.”

Research by the PHA UK, released for PH Awareness Week, highlights the mental and emotional impact of living with the condition.

It shows that 53 per cent of people with PH have experienced or been diagnosed with anxiety or depression, and 43 per cent feel lonely.

Over half find socialising difficult and 70 per cent say the condition has lowered their self-confidence.

Amy added: “Having PH has made me a lot more anxious and knocked my self-confidence. I pull myself away from things sometimes, and the future can feel scary. You never know what is going on under the surface or what people are going through.”

Iain Armstrong, Chair of the PHA UK, said: “Pulmonary hypertension is an extremely serious condition that has a huge impact on people’s lives. You often can’t tell someone has PH just by looking at them - so encouraging understanding of this rare, devastating condition is vital.” Amy receives treatment at the Hammersmith Hospital in London, which houses one of only nine specialist PH treatment centres in the UK.