What Is Pulmonary Hypertension? Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

Pulmonary Hypertension

What is Pulmonary Hypertension?

Pulmonary Hypertension (PH) is a serious, chronic lung disorder that is characterized by high blood pressure in the pulmonary arteries that carries oxygenated blood from the heart. The pressure in the pulmonary arteries is greater than normal, causing the heart to work harder to pump the blood through the lungs. PH can lead to heart failure and ultimately death if left untreated.

Symptoms of Pulmonary Hypertension

The most common symptom of Pulmonary Hypertension is shortness of breath. Additional symptoms that can be experienced include chest pain, fatigue, palpitations, dizziness, coughing, and fainting.

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Causes of Pulmonary Hypertension

The causes of Pulmonary Hypertension can be due to a multitude of factors. These include, but are not limited to:

High blood pressure in the lungs

High blood pressure in the lungs can occur due to a variety of factors, including:

  • Heart defects that were present at birth
  • lung diseases such as COPD, cystic fibrosis or sleep apnea
  • Blood clots
  • long-term drug or alcohol abuse
  • Environmental factors, such as living at high altitude or near a heavily polluted area
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Metabolic conditions

Obstruction of blood vessels

In some cases, the blood vessels in the lungs can become narrowed or blocked, leading to high blood pressure in the pulmonary arteries. This can be due to:

  • Infection
  • Inflammation
  • An allergic reaction
  • Kidney disease

Treatment of Pulmonary Hypertension

The treatment of Pulmonary Hypertension depends on the underlying cause and the severity of the condition. Treatment options range from lifestyle modifications to medications or medical procedures.

Lifestyle Modifications

Making lifestyle changes can help improve the symptoms of Pulmonary Hypertension. These include quitting smoking, avoiding alcohol, and eating a nutritious diet. Exercise can also be beneficial for those with PH by strengthening the heart and lungs.


Medications for Pulmonary Hypertension can include:

  • Diuretics to reduce the amount of fluid in the body
  • Vasodilators to widen the blood vessels
  • Calcium channel blockers to widen the arteries and lower blood pressure
  • Beta blockers to lower the heart rate and reduce blood pressure
  • Surface inhibitors to prevent blood clots

Medical Procedures

In some cases, more invasive treatments may be necessary to treat Pulmonary Hypertension. These can include:

  • Surgery to repair or replace damaged heart valves
  • Catheterization to widen the pulmonary arteries
  • Balloon pulmonary angioplasty to widen the pulmonary arteries
  • Heart transplantation for those with advanced heart failure

Health Risks of Pulmonary Hypertension

Pulmonary Hypertension can lead to serious health problems if left untreated. These include heart failure, stroke, and death. It is important to speak to your doctor if you are experiencing any of the symptoms associated with Pulmonary Hypertension. Early diagnosis and treatment can help slow the progression of the disease and improve quality of life.

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