Pulmonary hypertension is characterised by elevated blood pressure that builds up in the veins that support the lungs (pulmonary arteries).
It is a dangerous disorder that can cause right-sided cardiovascular dysfunction.
The pulmonary artery walls thicken and stiffen, making it difficult for blood to flow through. The decreased blood flow causes the heart’s right ventricle to work much harder to push the blood through the arteries. It might eventually diminish if the right side of your heart requires greater effort all the time. This can develop into heart failure.
Pulmonary hypertension is an uncommon disorder that may impact individuals of every age, although it is more likely in individuals with a history of a heart or lung condition.
The following are the symptoms of pulmonary hypertension:
- Shortness of breath.
- Dizziness or lightheadedness.
- Pain in the chest (angina).
- A rapid pulse (palpitations).
- Oedema (swelling) of the legs, ankles, foot, or stomach (abdomen).
- The sensations frequently worsen during activity, limiting your capacity to engage in physical activities.
If you have pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), you might not notice any symptoms until the disorder is extremely advanced.
When to see a doctor
Consult a doctor if you are experiencing any of the symptoms of pulmonary hypertension. They may ask you questions about your health issues and symptoms, and they might perform a physical examination.
Pneumovascular hypertension can be challenging to diagnose since its signs resemble various lung and heart illnesses.
The\ possible tests: An angiography, An echocardiography, a form of heart scan, and right heart catheterisation, in which a thin, flexible tube is introduced into the pulmonary artery.
The pulmonary artery alterations that produce pulmonary hypertension could be caused by:
- Complications with the smaller segments of the pulmonary arteries (PAH).
- Circumstances that have an impact on the left side of the heart.
- Lung disorders or a lack of oxygen in the body (hypoxia), blood clots that cause constriction or blockage of the pulmonary arteries.
While pulmonary hypertension cannot be cured, medication can relieve and help manage the symptoms.
Pulmonary hypertension generally worsens with time. If left untreated, it can lead to cardiovascular problems, which are life-threatening; thus, treatment should begin as quickly as possible.
If another condition triggers pulmonary hypertension, the underlying issue should be treated immediately. This can sometimes save the pulmonary arteries from becoming irreversibly damaged.
- Anticoagulant medications may be used to limit the capacity of the blood to thicken (clot), and diuretics may be used to eliminate excess fluid resulting from heart failure.
- You may also be given medication that dilates your blood vessels for better blood flow.
- You may be given home oxygen therapy if your blood oxygen level is low.
Consult a doctor to initiate treatment and make the required lifestyle modifications since pulmonary hypertension can impair your ability to perform everyday tasks.
Reviewed by – Dr. Priyanka, MBBS MD
Page last reviewed: 08 April 2023