Pulmonary Hypertension - Symptoms, Risk factors and Treatment
Last Updated On Friday, August 12, 2022
Pulmonary Hypertension in English
Pulmonary hypertension is a condition in which the blood pressure in the arteries of your lungs is raised. It is a type of hypertension that is different from systemic hypertension-in which the blood pressure is raised in all the arteries of your body.
Understanding the normal functioning of the heart and lungs
Your heart has four chambers, and two sides. The left side and the right side. The right side of the heart pumps blood to your lungs to receive oxygen, while the left side of your heart receives that blood from the lungs and pumps it to the whole body.
Your lungs receive oxygen-poor blood from the right side of the heart via the pulmonary artery. In the lungs, the blood receives oxygen and becomes oxygen-rich, and is then carried to the left side of your heart via the pulmonary vein.
If due to any cause (as discussed later), the blood pressure in the pulmonary arteries becomes high, the right side of your heart has to pump harder to push the blood against high pressure. It results in enlargement of the right side of your heart- a condition medically referred to as “Cor Pulmonale”.
Symptoms of Pulmonary Hypertension
Symptoms of pulmonary hypertension may include:
Breathlessness on exertion
Breathlessness on lying down
Swollen ankles, feet, or legs
Loss of appetite
Causes of Pulmonary Hypertension
Any problem in the normal pathway (as explained above), can result in pulmonary hypertension. Any narrowing or disease in the heart, lungs, or the vessels connecting the two organs or diseases of other organs can ultimately result in pulmonary hypertension.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has divided pulmonary hypertension into five different groups based on the underlying cause.
1. Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension:
It is due to the narrowing of the pulmonary artery which increases the pressure in the vessel.
It could be due to:
Unknown cause (Idiopathic)
Congenital heart disease (birth-defect in the heart)
2. Pulmonary hypertension due to left-sided heart failure:
When the left ventricle does not work properly, the blood will pool back into the lungs, and the pressure inside the lungs will increase subsequently.
The causes of this type of pulmonary hypertension may include:
Severe aortic disease
Chronic left ventricular heart failure
Severe mitral disease
3. Pulmonary hypertension due to chronic thromboembolic disease:
Thromboembolism-a clot in the pulmonary vessels will block the normal flow of blood forward resulting in increased pressure.
4. Pulmonary hypertension due to lung disease or hypoxemia:
Hypoxemia means the low concentration of oxygen in your blood. Your body responds to hypoxemia by narrowing the blood vessels, known as vasoconstriction, which increases blood pressure.
The causes for this may include:
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
Interstitial lung disease
Developmental lung disease
Chronic exposure to high altitude
Multifactorial pulmonary hypertension:
Many other diseases can result in pulmonary hypertension. These may include:
Sarcoidosis and other systemic disorders
Chronic renal failure
Compression of pulmonary vessels(as in tumors)
Risk factors of pulmonary hypertension
The risk factors for pulmonary hypertension can be as follows.
Congestive heart failure
Systemic lupus erythematosus
Respiratory diseases like emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and pulmonary fibrosis
Pulmonary hypertension is a condition in which the blood pressure of the pulmonary vessels remains elevated. It most commonly shows the signs and symptoms of cough and breathlessness. Therefore if you have the same complaint, you should visit the doctor soon.