A FATHER and daughter have made a film to increase awareness of the little known condition pulmonary hypertension.

Stacie Pridden, 15, from Lyneham, is one of 4,000 people across the UK whose life has been affected by the potentially fatal condition.

It took Stacie's parents 10 years to get a correct diagnosis and access to the specialist treatments and care that their daughter so desperately needed.

Although according to Stacie's Dad, Tony, discovering that his daughter had the life-threatening condition, was the best thing that ever happened to her.

That's because before Stacie was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension (PH) at the age of 10, life was a constant trial of colds, chest infections, pneumonia, fainting attacks, dizziness, with many antibiotics and operations.

Since she has been receiving treatment - she needs daily medication and oxygen overnight - her life has changed dramatically and now she is little different from any other teenager.

Stacie who attends Wootton Bassett School at Lime Kiln, said: "I remember going back to school when doctors diagnosed me with it and I was panicking because I thought the tablets wouldn't work and so I just started crying.

"But I soon learned to get used to it.

"People just treat me the same at school. I can do everything like everyone else just a little slower, but I can't do PE. But that doesn't really bother me because I just go to the library and play games so it's all right."

Stacie and Tony's film was produced by respected TV documentary maker Alan Howard and health care broadcast journalist Paul Pennington. It describes Stacie's PH journey to highlight the impact that it has had on their lives.

The film, alongside 11 others, will act as part of PH Awareness Week, which is this week, and was organised by the charity PHA-UK, to raise vital awareness of the condition.

The aim of the week is to highlight the condition to sufferers, health care professionals and the general public to aid faster diagnosis and to make more people aware of the specialist PH treatment centres.

Tony who works at the Honda factory in Swindon said: "When you don't know what's wrong you imagine the worst and then to be told it is a disease which can be controlled is reassuring.

"So to know that something has been recognised and being treated, is a lot better than to not know and to be treated with shots in the dark."

With correct treatment and a faster diagnosis almost two thirds of PH patients will survive longer than five years. But if not treated about half of PH patients die within two years.

Because of its similarities to the more common asthma and lack of awareness of the condition, health professionals often misdiagnose PH.

It is a disease in which the blood pressure in the arteries in the lungs rises, putting pressure on the heart and reducing the amount of oxygen that is able to reach the tissues of the body causing breathlessness and exhaustion.

It can often lead to heart failure and can be a condition on its own or associated with other diseases.

Although in the majority of cases there is no cure, there are effective treatments that can help sufferers if they are diagnosed early in the disease progression.

Iain Armstrong, chairman of PHA-UK and specialist PH Nurse Consul- tant at The Royal Hallam-shire Hospital in Sheffield, said: "The lack of awareness and delays in diagnosis are very frustrating.

"If people with PH had the opportunity to be referred to one of the specialist centres earlier in their disease progression we would have the ability to greatly improve their quality of life living with the disease.

"We are extremely grateful to Tony and Stacie for sharing their story, we hope their film goes some way to helping enhance awareness of PH."

Stacie's video will be available via PHA-UK's website www.pha-uk.com which also has more information on the condition.

There is also a helpline set up for PH on 0800 3898 156.