God forbids, but often you may feel tiredness and shortness of breath- the most two common complaints for any disease. As such the condition gets unnoticed and undiagnosed till you experience some serious symptoms such as prolonged chest pain, swelling in the arms, legs or in abdomen, heart palpitations and dizziness. And then you may seek doctor’s help and it is found that you are suffering from pulmonary hypertension.
What is Pulmonary Hypertension?
Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is a condition with high blood pressure in the lungs. Over time, this chronic high blood pressure affects the lungs and damages the right side of the heart. As a consequence, the heart needs to pump harder to pump oxygen-rich blood through the constricted blood vessels. And over time, if not treated on time this disease can lead to heart failure. However, early diagnosis and treatment leads to improved outcomes. Research reveals that women in the age groups of 20-40s are most likely to get affected with pulmonary hypertension.
In simple words, pulmonary hypertension is a condition where you have high blood pressure in your pulmonary arteries, the vessels that carry deoxygenated blood from the heart to your lungs. Often people consider PH as regular hypertension; though they are two different conditions. In medical terms, hypertension is also referred to as the ‘High Blood Pressure’ or ‘Systemic Hypertension’- this means that pressure in the arteries is higher than it normally is. While PH or pulmonary hypertension is a condition that affects the vessels within the lungs and the pulmonary arteries, thereby damaging and narrowing the vessels. As a consequence, the right side of the heart needs to work much harder to pump the blood. With the worsening of the condition it might lead to heart failure.
How common is pulmonary hypertension?
Pulmonary hypertension is very much common to people across the world. The initial symptoms of PH which most people experience are very much same that are present with other common medical conditions.
Common symptoms include:
1.Feeling of shortness of breath
2.Abdominal right-sided pain
If not taken proper care and when treatment is delayed, these common symptoms turn into serious symptoms like ankle swelling, palpitations in heart, continuous and acute chest pain. If not treated timely pulmonary hypertension can lead to heart failure, as already stated earlier. Though people of any age can be affected, aged adults are more prone to this disease. People with given lung and heart conditions such as aortic valve diseases, sickle cell disease, and HIV are at a greater risk for pulmonary hypertension.
Causes of Pulmonary Hypertension
The causes of pulmonary hypertension arise from underlying medical conditions and vulnerability to toxins present in the environment. High blood pressure in the arteries of the lungs can occur from:
1.Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)
3.Blood clots in the lungs
4.Congenital heart disease
5.Disease in connective tissue
Apart from these, problems in the lungs including COPD, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, interstitial lung disease, obstructive sleep apnea also called OSA can cause pulmonary hypertension (PH).
The risk factors:
There are some risk factors that accelerate the problem like
3.Intake of appetite-suppressant medication
Diagnosis & Treatment
As the condition differs from person to person, so is the treatment. Doctors recommend treatments that is customised to suit individual patient’s needs and type. Most patients suffering from this condition are advised to improve their breathing. As such, oxygen therapy is recommended where you can breathe pure oxygen through prongs that fit your nose. This therapy helps even when you have low oxygen levels in your blood. If there is a risk of developing blood clots, blood thinners are recommend.
Suggested Practices for Improvement
2.Go for regular walks so that you can breathe better.
3.Practice regular exercise to combat high BP
4.Give yourself adequate rest and a good night’s sleep. This is because, the patients tend to get tired easily, and thus regular periods of rest and rejuvenation are essential
5.Consume a healthy diet – Fruits, vegetable, wholesome grains.
6.Drink sufficient water.
8.Consume limited alcohol.
9.Avoid junk & spicy food.
How is pulmonary hypertension diagnosed?
Doctors generally diagnose PH with a series of tests like
1.Electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG)
3.Six-minute walk test
Once PH is diagnosed, the next step is to determine the cause. Doctors practice many ways such as:
1.Computerized Tomography, also called CT or CAT scans used to check lung diseases or blood clots in the lungs.
2.Sleep studies rule out sleep apnea, which causes you to stop breathing during sleep temporarily.
3.Lab testing helps to rule out other specific medical conditions.
4.Pulmonary function testing (PFT) determines if you have obstructive lung disease.
The physician diagnoses secondary pulmonary hypertension if these tests determine a cause of PH. If there’s no known cause, it’s known as primary pulmonary hypertension.
Reading this blog would help you get a fair idea about Pulmonology Hypertension – what is it all about, its symptoms, causes, the risk factors and ways to prevent this disease. Our pulmonology department supported by experienced and skilled Pulmonologists, Critical Care Specialists, modern ICU, and State-of the-art Pulmonary Diagnostic services is dedicated to diagnose & treat a wide range of diseases related to lungs & respiratory tract. Do consult your physician as soon as you experience any such symptoms as discussed earlier.
Though all attempts are made to provide correct information on the subject, inadvertent & typographical errors arising out of manual intervention cannot be ruled out. It is requested to bring any such discrepancies to the notice of the blogger for correction.