What is pulmonary hypertension?
Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is a rare disorder of the lungs where the arteries carrying blood from the heart to the lungs get narrowed thus making it difficult in blood flow through the vessels. In consequence, there is increase of blood pressure in the lungs vasculature (the pulmonary veins and pulmonary arteries) which strains the right chamber of the heart causing it to expand. As a result, the overworked and enlarged right ventricle becomes weak and loses the ability to pump enough blood to the lungs, a condition that tends to lead to heart failure.
Moreover, pulmonary hypertension affects people of all races and ages, though it is more common in young adults. There are several know causes of pulmonary hypertension, some of which include pre-existing medical conditions like liver cirrhosis or other chronic liver malfunctions, rheumatic disorders and pulmonary fibroid PH is also known to be caused by high altitude living, sleep disorder or even obesity. In some cases, pulmonary hypertension is associated to hereditary factors.
What are the signs and symptoms of pulmonary hypertension?
Due to their gradual occurrence, the signs and symptoms of pulmonary hypertension are usually evident once the condition has progressed. The most common symptoms include difficulty or shortness of breath when performing everyday activities like going through the stairs, swelling in the abdomen or even the ankles and feet, a condition medically known as peripheraledema fatigue, fainting, dizziness, dry cough, chest pains and in severe cases, a victim would experience bloody coughs. Other symptoms would include irregular heartbeats and difficulty in breathing at rest.
What are the treatments of pulmonary hypertension?
Before one begins on the medication, it is advisable to conduct proper diagnosis and analysis to establish the type, cause and the severity of the condition. After establishing this, treatment begins. The most common treatments of pulmonary hypertension are through medication, dietary adjustments, and in some cases surgery. Several medications are available to treat pulmonary hypertension, with the kind of medication instituted depending on the severity of the condition, likelihood of progression, and the individual’s tolerance to drugs.
Some of the most common medication treatments include:
- Replacing or supplementing low oxygen in the blood.
- Using anticoagulants to reduce clots and allow free flow of blood.
- Using vasodilators to lower pulmonary blood pressure and improve heart-pumping ability.
- Using water pills to remove excessive fluids in the body
- Using potassium supplements to replace potassium lost in urination after taking other medications such as water pills to remove excessive fluids.
In case of surgery, a patient may be subjected a surgery to remove the clots in the pulmonary artery, lung transplantation, heart transplantation or both heart and lung for patients with both heart and lung failure.
In conclusion, pulmonary hypertension (PH) is a rare disorder of the lungs characterized by narrowing of the arteries carrying blood from the heart to the lungs. Some of the most common symptoms include shortness of breath, fatigue, and dry cough among others. However, this condition is treatable through medication, dietary changes, and surgery.