Pulmonary hypertension is defined as high blood pressure in the blood vessels supplying the lungs.
It is considered as a serious condition that can impair the right side of the heart. It is important to note that the walls of the pulmonary arteries thicken and turn stiff and could no longer expand normally to allow the blood to move through.
The diminished flow of blood makes it difficult for the right side of the heart to drive blood via the arteries. Once it continues to strain, it gradually weakens which leads to heart failure.
The condition is considered rare and can affect individuals of all ages, but it is prevalent among those who have another lung or heart condition.
What are the causes?
The alterations in the pulmonary arteries that lead to pulmonary hypertension can be triggered by the following:
- Issues with the smaller branches of the pulmonary arteries
- Lung ailments or limited oxygen in the body
- Conditions affecting the left side of the heart
- Blood clots that result to blockage or narrowing in the pulmonary arteries
What are the signs of pulmonary hypertension?
The indications of pulmonary hypertension generally include:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Feeling dizzy or faint
- Rapid heartbeat
- Swollen legs, feet, ankle or abdomen
The signs often worsen during physical activity which limits the capability to engage in strenuous activities.
Management of pulmonary hypertension
Pulmonary hypertension could not be cured but treatment can lessen the symptoms as well as manage the condition.
The condition generally worsens over time. If not treated, it can lead to heart failure which can be deadly, thus treatment must be started as soon as possible. In case it is caused by another condition, it must be treated first. This can help prevent the pulmonary arteries from being permanently impaired.
The treatment for pulmonary hypertension might include anticoagulants to lessen the capability of the blood to thicken along with diuretics to get rid of excess fluid due to heart failure. In addition, medications to widen the blood vessels might be given.
Oxygen therapy at home might also be suggested if the level of oxygen in the blood is low.