May also be called: Pulmonary Hypertension; Pulmonary Arteriopathy; Pulmonary
Arterial Hypertension; Primary Pulmonary Hypertension; Idiopathic Pulmonary Hypertension;
Secondary Pulmonary Hypertension
Pulmonary hypertension (PUL-muh-nair-ee hy-pur-TEN-shun) is a condition that occurs
when the blood pressure in the arteries of the lungs
is abnormally high.
More to Know
The body has two circulatory systems:
Systemic circulation sends blood from the heart
to all the other parts of the body and back again.
Pulmonary circulation is a short loop from the heart to the lungs and back
Pulmonary hypertension happens when there is abnormally high
blood pressure in the pulmonary circulation, which means the heart has to work
harder to pump blood against the high pressure.
Pulmonary hypertension is caused by narrowing or blockage of the arteries and tiny
blood vessels called capillaries in the lungs. This can be the result of another medical
problem or the use of certain drugs, in which case it is called secondary
pulmonary hypertension. In some cases, however, there is no identifiable
cause. This is called primary or idiopathic pulmonary hypertension.
Pulmonary hypertension can cause breathing difficulties, chest pain, weakness,
and fatigue. Over time it can lead to right-sided heart failure, blood clots, irregular
heartbeats (arrhythmia), and bleeding
in the lungs. Without treatment, these complications can become life threatening.
Treatment for pulmonary hypertension usually involves medications that help improve
blood flow in the pulmonary arteries. In rare cases, surgery to relieve the pressure
or a heart or lung transplant may be performed.
Keep in Mind
There is no cure for pulmonary hypertension, but medical treatment and lifestyle
changes — such as maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, avoiding high altitudes,
staying active, and getting plenty of rest — can help minimize symptoms.
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