Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension Damages the Heart and Lungs

The lungs and heart work in tandem. They are responsible for the intake of oxygen, sending it throughout the body for it to be used, and then returning and expelling the carbon dioxide which is created. The arteries within the lungs and the right side of the heart can sometimes suffer from high blood pressure specifically. The arteries can become narrow or blocked. Sometimes they can be destroyed outright. In turn, the blood doesn’t properly flow in the lungs and the pressure rises. The heart’s right side tries to compensate for this lack of blood flow and works harder. This can lead to dangerous complications with the heart. 

Identifying pulmonary arterial hypertension will allow for early treatment. This is important because there is currently no cure. However, treatment does allow for a better quality of life. It can also decrease the rate at which pulmonary arterial hypertension worsens. 

Symptoms of Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension

People who are suffering from pulmonary hypertension can suffer from a variety of symptoms. In many cases, which this problem is developing, the symptoms may not appear, or be so light as to almost be invisible. Symptoms to look out for include: 

  • Fainting and Dizziness
  • Dyspnea (Shortness of Breath)
  • Chest Pain and Chest Pressure
  • Edema in the Ankles/Legs
  • Ascites in the Abdomen
  • Cyanosis (Blue Tint to Skin and Lips) 
  • Heart Palpitations
  • Highly Elevated Heart Rate

Pulmonary Hypertension Grouping

There are several different groupings of pulmonary hypertension. The first is the main focus of this article. Group 1 of pulmonary hypertension is known as pulmonary arterial hypertension. This groups together many different causes. People who have a heart defect when they are born fall under this grouping. Issues caused by some diet drugs and illegal drugs also fall here. People with HIV, cirrhosis of the liver, and many connective tissue disorders might cause pulmonary arterial hypertension. Group 1 also contains a genetic form called heritable pulmonary arterial hypertension that is passed down in families. The final sufferers in group 1 are idiopathic sufferers. Quite simply, a cause can’t be determined for these! 

There are four other groups with different causes. Group 2 belongs to people who have issues with the left side of their heart. Heart diseases are common and heart failure applies as well. Group 3 focuses mostly on the lungs. Chronic conditions like emphysema apply, as does pulmonary fibrosis. There are also sleep disorders where people struggle to sleep that can cause issues. Group 3 also applies to people who live at very high altitude for a long period of time. The fourth group moves to the blood. Blood clots can occur in the body, however, pulmonary emboli is when they occur in the lungs. Group 5 is the final group and it deals with other conditions. There are quite a few, but there are several blood disorders, metabolic disorders and disorders that affect multiple bodily organs. This group also includes when a tumor presses against the pulmonary artery narrowing it. 

Getting Treatment for Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension

Once pulmonary arterial hypertension has been diagnosed, then treatment will be designed. Diagnosis is tricky early unless there’s a family history. It can require many tests that show the lungs and heart. 

Since pulmonary arterial hypertension grows over time, the severity is spread into classes. Class I is for people showing no symptoms during normal activity, and increases to Class IV where symptoms show while at rest. Treatment is typically medication. Medication works to widen the blood vessels that have been constricted. It can also try to alter the substances that cause constriction in the first place. Serious cases may require surgery. 

Lifestyle changes can also assist in handling pulmonary arterial hypertension. People need to get lots of rest at night, but be as active as possible. This can be assisted by eating a proper diet. Smokers need to quit. Pregnancy can be life threatening with pulmonary arterial hypertension and should be avoided. Getting up to high altitudes can cause symptoms to appear further. People living above 8000 feet should consider moving.

Medical Disclaimer: The information presented on healthnfitness.net are for general informational purposes only, the writer may not necessarily have medical or scientific training. This information is not reviewed by a physician. Some of these articles may contain information about treatments or the use of a pharmaceutical product that has not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. healthnfitness.net does not endorse any specific product, service or treatment. Results on any service or treatment may vary from person-to-person.

This article should not be considered as medical advice. Do not delay or disregard seeking professional advice from a certified doctor or other qualified healthcare provider. Always speak with a doctor before starting, stopping, or changing any prescribed care or treatment plan. healthnfitness.net provides this reading material as a helpful resource, but it should never be a substitute for professional medical advice, care, diagnosis or treatment from a medical physician, a certified personal trainer, a therapist, a dietitian, or a nutritionist. If in a medical emergency, call a doctor or dial 911 immediately.