‘Precaution is better than cure,’ is the general advice given to patients by most doctors. It is a universal phenomenon that if you eat well and live a healthy lifestyle, then you are likely to live a long and disease-free life.
However, life in modern times is full of stress. Hence, it’s probable that you may find yourself getting fainting spells or excessive lethargy due to PH. You may wonder what pulmonary hypertension is?
Pulmonary hypertension, also known as PH, is a common, yet life-threatening disease. It is a type of high blood pressure that affects the arteries of your lungs. Also, PH puts excessive pressure on the right side of your heart.
The Process Of Pulmonary Hypertension
Blockage in the blood vessels of the lungs restricts the blood flow to the lungs, and the blood pressure in the lung arteries rises.
The heart then works harder to pump blood through the lungs. The extra effort from the heart causes the heart muscles to weaken and fail over a prolonged period.
Thus, you experience shortness of breath and even getting dizzy because the heart is functioning slower and isn’t able to pump blood to the brain fast enough or the rest of the body.
Now, how can you tell that you have PH?
Symptoms Of PH
- Shortness of breath that may happen during exertion or even at repose, clinically called dyspnea
- Dizziness or fainting spells also called syncope
- Bluish color to your lips and skin, medically termed as cyanosis
- Chest pressure or chest pain
- Heart palpitations or racing pulse
- Fatigue or continued exhaustion
- Swelling in your ankles (edema) or bloating in your abdomen (ascites)
It isn’t necessary that a person may exhibit all the symptoms of PH. However, the symptoms of PH do get worse over a span of time and can be dangerous. It isn’t curable, but treatment reduces the effects of PH, to a great extent.
So, we now know the symptoms of PH, and we know what it is. However, what are the causes of pulmonary hypertension?
Read on to find out.
Causes of Pulmonary hypertension
Many reasons can cause PH, and a few are such that are totally out of your control. Thus, you may eat right and work out, yet you may discover you have PH.
But, before we discuss the causes, it’s essential to understand that pulmonary hypertension can be categorized into five groups, depending on the reasons.
1. Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH)
- Genetics – Your parents or grandparents may have PH. And, if that is the case, then you may have PH. But, each generation doesn’t need to have PH, as PH skips generations too.
- Use Of Certain Prescriptions – If you use certain diet pills or even use illegal drugs such as methamphetamines or cocaine, then you may land with PH.
- Birth Defects – Any heart conditions that may be prevalent at the time of birth may cause PH, such as atrial septal defect (ASD) or even congenital heart disease.
- Unknown Causes – There are cases of pulmonary hypertension where there is no correlation to any medical conditions. Such circumstances are known as idiopathic arterial hypertension.
- Medical Conditions – There are quite a few medical conditions that prompt PH as well, such as chronic liver disease or HIV. Moreover, certain connective tissue disorders invariably lead to PH, for example, Lupus.
2. Pulmonary Hypertension through Left-sided Heart Disease
- Left-Sided Heart Conditions – Certain conditions pertaining to the left side of the heart such as a mitral valve or aortic valve disease may result in PH
- Failure Of The Left Heart Chamber – The ventricle that is the lower-left heart chamber does, at times, fails to function. Under such circumstances, pulmonary hypertension is one of the primary symptoms.
3. Pulmonary Hypertension From Lung Disease
- Pulmonary Fibrosis – This is a condition that causes scarring in the tissues between the lungs’ air sacs
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea – A condition that makes breathing stop and to start during sleep, repeatedly.
- High Altitude – Very high altitudes tend to have denser air, making breathing difficult. And, if you have long-term exposure to high altitudes, then you may develop PH.
4. Pulmonary Hypertension From Chronic Blood Clots
- Pulmonary Emboli – These are blood clots that develop in the lungs
- Other Clotting Disorders – There are a series of clotting disorders that may be inherited from the family, such as Factor V Leiden mutation or the Prothrombin 20210 mutation. In most of these cases, the severity of clotting is insignificant. However, if a person has inherited two mutated gene copies from parents, known as homozygous, then the clotting is seen at an early age and can be life-threatening.
5. Pulmonary Hypertension Caused By Other Conditions
- Kidney Disease – there are times when something PH will develop due to another ailment.
- Cancer – tumors pressing against the pulmonary arteries will perpetuate PH.
- Metabolic Disorders – Diseases such as glycogen storage disease may start up PH
There is evidence that aging increases the risk of developing pulmonary hypertension. Yet, as mentioned earlier, pulmonary hypertension is not curable, but the right treatment done in the initial stages of PH, can significantly improve the quality of your life.
Many fear that pulmonary hypertension is a killer. That may be true if you try to ignore the symptoms rather than seek out the treatment. Several medications and even medical surgeries, as well as procedures, exist that can help modify the severity of the condition.
We’re hoping that you were able to learn some interesting facts about PH and understand that though PH may be a complicated issue, it’s not without solutions.
The best thing to do is to consult a doctor if you ever fear that you may have PH, and then you need to relax. Research what you can on the net about the condition, get in touch with focus groups that assist people with PH and try out the prescribed medications.
We would even recommend the Pulmonary Vascular Research Institute to help you out in every way possible, right from informational blogs, to experienced doctors on their panel to give you the best possible advice.