Reduced appetite, nausea, and heartburn are all things that you can experience when you have PH. And when you have to eat at the same time as taking medication, we understand it can be difficult. Chermaine Kwant, a registered dietician who had PH before undergoing a lung transplant, shares her advice.

Symptoms of PH can reduce your appetite, and fluid retention can make you feel full very quickly when you eat.  

It can also be a problem when medications cause nausea or digestive problems. What we see very often is also that patients don’t have the energy to eat after a very busy day, or even after preparing the meal itself.

A lot of medication requires you to eat something when you take it, and that can be hard when the medication itself can make you feel nauseous. But although it sounds contradictory, you must eat in order to prevent becoming nauseous with the medication.

It can be tempting to eat unhealthy things when you don’t have a lot of appetite, but that won’t do your body any good. You may want to reach for a candy bar because it’s easy, but it’s important to eat as healthily as possible so that you make your body stronger.


If you have a reduced appetite, it might be better to eat a few smaller meals throughout the day rather than the three ‘set meals’ of breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Don’t worry about timings, just eat when you have the energy. If it’s better for you to eat your ‘main meal’ during the day, that’s fine. If you’re already tired from a busy day, then eating and digesting a big meal in the evening can be too much.

Sipping a small cup of broth (the ‘stock’ that’s often used as the base of soup, such as the water from boiling the bones of a meat joint) before a meal can help elevate your appetite.

It also helps to avoid very heavy food. For example, choose steamed vegetables over mashed potatoes and gravy. It is important to cook vegetables, as raw vegetables have more fibre and this make you feel fuller more quickly.


If you want to eat something small, like a snack, with your medication then a few nuts combined with a piece of fruit is good. Bananas especially are quite easy to digest. I would advise avoiding melon however, as this is not as easy to digest as other fruits.

Another option could be a boiled egg, or a slice of toast with butter. Soup is also good, but although this is light on your stomach, be mindful that if you are on restricted fluids, it adds to your daily fluid intake.


My tip here is to drink herbal tea. Ginger or fennel are best, and fennel is also a vegetable that you can slice into a salad.  It’s got a very nice flavour and it’s very good for your stomach.


If you have trouble digesting your meals, especially if you have heartburn, then my tip is to avoid drinking fluids when you eat.

Every time you drink, the liquid lowers the amount of stomach acid and the less stomach acid you have, the more problems you will have when digesting the meal. I understand it might sound strange, but this is a really good tip to try.


If you haven’t the appetite or energy to eat then sometimes it might feel very easy to take a meal replacement shake. However, they are highly processed and often contain things on the ingredients list that you can’t even pronounce.  

They contain a lot of additives and often a lot of sugar. You need to avoid processed foods in general – whether you have PH or not – but especially if you have cardiovascular disease.

I do understand that if you really feel fatigued and you don’t have the appetite to prepare a healthy meal you might want to choose a shake, but my advice would be not to. I filmed a video with the PHA UK about quick and easy one-pan meals, so watch this here and it might give you some alternative ideas.

Everybody is different, and everyone reacts differently to certain ways of eating and drinking, so my advice is to try some of the tips above and see if they work for you. It’s important to become more aware of what nutrition does to your body.