Pulmonary hypertension is a type of high blood pressure that is affecting the arteries in the lungs and the right side of the heart. There is one form of it, known as pulmonary arterioles, in which the tiny arteries in the lung and capillaries become destroyed, blocked or narrowed.
This is making harder for the blood to flow through the lungs and it raises the pressure within your lung’s arteries. It is known that when the pressure builds, then your heart’s lower right chamber (also known as right Ventrice) must work harder to pump the blood through the lungs and eventually this can cause your heart muscle to weaken and fail.
Symptoms of Pulmonary Hypertension:
When someone has pulmonary hypertension which is in the early stages, then the signs and symptoms might not be noticeable for months or even years. When this disease progresses, then it can become worse. Below are given symptoms of pulmonary hypertension:
- Racing pulse or heart palpitations
- Bluish color to your lips and skin (cyanosis)
- Swelling (edema) in your ankles, legs and eventually in your abdomen (ascites)
- Chest pressure or pain
- Dizziness or fainting spells (syncope)
- Shortness of breath (dyspnea), initially while exercising and eventually while at rest
Causes of Pulmonary Hypertension:
There are some cases when doctors cannot find the cause of pulmonary hypertension. When the cause is not found, then it is called idiopathic pulmonary hypertension. Also, genes can play a role in this condition.
In other cases, there is another condition that is the cause for pulmonary hypertension. Here are some conditions which can lead to pulmonary hypertension:
- Sleep apnea
- Lung diseases, like emphysema, chronic bronchitis or pulmonary fibrosis
- A heart defect you are born with
- Lupus, scleroderma, rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases
- Liver disease (such as cirrhosis of the liver)
- Illegal drug use (like cocaine or methamphetamine)
- Blood clots in the lungs
- Congestive heart failure
Risk factors in Pulmonary Hypertension:
Here are some factors which can increase your risk of getting pulmonary hypertension:
- You have an existing risk of developing pulmonary hypertension, such as the family history of this condition and you live at a high altitude
- You take a certain appetite-suppressant medications
- You use illegal drugs, such as cocaine
- You have one of the various conditions that can increase your risk of developing pulmonary hypertension
- You have a family history of this disease
- You are overweight
- You are a young adult. It is known that idiopathic pulmonary hypertension is more common in younger adults.
Complications in Pulmonary Hypertension:
This condition can lead to many different complications, such as
- Bleeding: This disorder can lead to bleeding into the lungs and coughing up blood (this condition is known as hemoptysis). This is also a potentially fatal condition.
- Arrhythmia: We know that arrhythmias are irregular heartbeats from the lower or upper chambers of the heart and they are complications of hypertension. This can lead to fainting, dizziness or palpitations that are fatal.
- Blood clots: We know that clots can help to stop the bleeding after we have been injured. There are some cases when the clots are forming where they are not needed. Just a few large clots or a number of small clots dislodge from these veins and they travel to the lungs which are leading to the formation of hypertension which generally can be reversible with time and treatment. There are some studies in which are said that when you have hypertension, then it is increasing your chances of developing clots in the small arteries in the lungs which can be dangerous if you already have blocked or narrowed blood vessels.
- Right-sided heart enlargement and heart failure (cor pulmonale): When someone has this condition, then his right ventricle of the heart becomes enlarged and it has to pump harder than usual to move the blood through the blocked or narrowed pulmonary arteries.