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Pulmonary Hypertension

HYPERTENSION CAUSES SYMPTOMS DIAGNOSIS TREATMENT COMPLICATIONS

High blood pressure that affects the arteries that supply the lung is called Pulmonary Hypertension.  This is a serious condition that progressively worsens and can lead to right heart failure and death.  

Causes
Normally the heart has a right and left side. The right side is usually a low pressure area and the blood is pumped from the right heart to the pulmonary blood vessels.  This blood is taken to the alveoli by the small pulmonary blood vessels.  Oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange takes place in the alveoli.  Purified blood is returned to the left side of the heart to supply different parts of the body.  In Pulmonary Hypertension, pressure in the pulmonary blood vessels is increased. These blood vessels can narrow and cause insufficient gas exchange.

There are two types of Pulmonary Hypertension:

1) Primary or idiopathic pulmonary hypertension.   This is a condition where no cause can be found for pulmonary hypertension.  It is genetic and more females are affected than males.

2)  Secondary pulmonary hypertension- has many causes.

a) COPD (Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), emphysema

b) Pulmonary emboli or clot in the lung

c) Sleep apnea- where carbon dioxide level is elevated

d) Congenital heart diseases

e) Cirrhosis

f) Pulmonary disease- like fibrosis

g) Left sided heart failure

h) High altitudes

i) stimulants- such as cocaine

j) HIV

Symptoms 
Chest pain, usually in the front of the chest, fatigue, fainting or weakness, dizziness, exercise intolerance, and shortness of breath

There can be four classifications:

  1. Diagnosed with  no symptoms
  2. No symptoms at rest- but fatigue and shortness of breath on activity
  3. Comfortable at rest but has symptoms with exercise
  4. Symptoms at rest

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