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World Pulmonary Hypertension Day

Pulmonary Hypertension (PH) is a life threatening condition that affects the arteries in your lungs and the right ventricle (lower right chamber) of your heart. There are six different types of PH. In one form of pulmonary hypertension, the tiny arterioles and capillaries in lungs become narrowed or blocked. This makes it harder for blood to flow through them and in turn increases pressure on your lung’s arteries. As a result, your heart (lower right chamber) has to work harder to pump blood through the lungs and eventually results in weakening and failing of heart muscle.

PH can get worse over time but treatments can help you with your symptoms so you can cope better with PH and lead a normal life. With the help of proper medication and thorough planning, you can still do all the things you love, just as you did before you were diagnosed. Having PH is different from having regular high blood pressure.

Symptoms:

The most common symptoms of PH are also associated with many other conditions. Hence, it becomes difficult to recognize PH in it’s early stages. As the condition progresses, the symptoms worsen. Symptoms to watch out for:

  • Breathlessness
  • Chest pain
  • Increased Heartbeat
  • Dizziness
  • Pain on the right side of the abdomen
  • Swelling of the arms, legs or ankles
  • Poor appetite

Risk Factors:

Although anyone can get PH, some risk factors make some people more susceptible to it.

  • Family History: PH can be genetic
  • Gender: Idiopathic PH and familial PH are two and a half times more common in women than in
  • Pregnancy
  • Altitude
  • Associated diseases like Congenital heart disease, lung disease
  • Drugs and toxins, like methamphetamines and fen phen

Diagnosis:

As stated earlier, it is difficult to recognize PH in it’s early stages. Hence, a series of tests must be performed to confirm the presence of PH and eliminate other possible diagnoses. The tests include:

  • Blood tests
  • Chest X­rays
  • Echocardiogram
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG)
  • Pulmonary function tests
  • Six­minute walk test
  • Ventilation/Perfusion Scan

Treatment:

Pulmonary hypertension can’t be cured, but doctors can help you manage your condition. Treatment may help slow the progress of pulmonary hypertension and improve your symptoms. Treatment is dependent on the type of PH i.e., arterial, venous, thromboembolic, hypoxic, or miscellaneous. The treatment options also range from medications to surgery.

  • Digoxins
  • Diuretics
  • Blood thinners
  • Vasoactive substances (Only for Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension)
  • Repair/replace the aortic valve or mitral valve
  • Atrial septostomy
  • Lung transplantation

Consult a Pulmonologist at Apollo Edoc and get your doubts cleared.

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