Health

What is pulmonary hypertension?

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Pulmonary hypertension is a condition in which the blood pressure of the arteries of your heart remains elevated. It occurs due to abnormal narrowing of the blood vessels.

Pulmonary hypertension can lead to heart failure due to the excessive strain it puts on the right ventricle of the heart.

Due to excessive pressure on it, the right ventricle becomes weak and loses its ability to pump blood efficiently, leading to right-sided heart failure. Pulmonary hypertension can occur in all age groups and people of all races. However, it is more common in women as compared to men. One of the most common signs of pulmonary hypertension is breathlessness. If you have the same complaint, visit a chest specialist in Rawalpindi. However, breathlessness can occur due to various reasons. It is essential to rule out the cause.

Reason for narrowing of the pulmonary artery

According to the experts, narrowing of the pulmonary artery may occur due to injury to the blood vessel. Due to various reasons, it may change the way of interaction of cells with the smooth muscles of the blood vessels. Due to this, smooth muscles contract, and they grow more than normal, eventually narrowing the vessel.

Normal pulmonary artery pressure

At rest, the normal pulmonary artery pressure is 8 to 20 mm of Hg. It is quite lower than the systemic blood pressure that is 120/80 mm of Hg. If the pressure of the pulmonary artery is greater than 25 mm Hg at rest and greater than 30 mm Hg during physical activity, this condition can be characterized as pulmonary hypertension.

What are the causes of pulmonary hypertension?

Pulmonary hypertension can occur due to various reasons. Some of them are as follows.

Diet drugs like dexfenfluramine and phentermine ( these drugs have been withdrawn from the market)

Liver diseases like cirrhosis, hepatitis, and chronic liver disease

Rheumatic disorders like systemic lupus erythematosus and scleroderma

Lung conditions like pulmonary fibrosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, emphysema, tumors

Heart diseases like aortic valve disease, mitral valve disease, left heart failure, and congenital heart disease

Thromboembolic disease- development of a blood clot inside the pulmonary artery

Conditions where oxygen content is low like high altitude, sleep apnea, and obesity

In some cases, pulmonary hypertension can also occur due to a genetic tendency. But the chances for it are quite low.

What are the symptoms of pulmonary hypertension?

Pulmonary hypertension does not show its signs and symptoms until the condition has progressed. Its initial symptoms are

Shortness of breath, especially on the activity like climbing stairs, brisk walking, and exercise

Dizziness

Fatigue

Fainting spells

Swelling in ankles

Swelling in abdomen

Swelling in legs

Bluish lips

Chest pain

In severe cases, the symptoms may occur upon little activity. They can appear as

Palpitations

Tachycardia

Passing out

Difficulty breathing even on rest

Lifestyle changes

If you are diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension, the following lifestyle changes can help in reducing its symptoms.

Quit smoking- if it is difficult for you, seek advice from a healthcare provider. They may prescribe substitutes like nicotine gum that can help with it.

Incorporate exercise into your lifestyle. You can do a daily walk for at least 20 to 30 minutes. However, do not overexert yourself. Make sure you consult with your healthcare provider before doing that.

Eat clean, like foods low in sodium. Moreover, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, along with fish, lean meat, chicken, and fat-free milk.

Keep an eye on your weight. If it increases rapidly, it can be an indicator that pulmonary hypertension is progressing.

Avoid doing activities that can lower your blood pressure, like sitting in a sauna bath for a long time.

If you are traveling to places where oxygen is low, like at high altitudes or in the airplane, make sure you carry an oxygen cylinder with you.

You can talk to a therapist if you suffer from anxiety and stress of pulmonary hypertension. Keep the other people around you informed about your condition.

Conclusion

Pulmonary hypertension is a condition in which the blood pressure of the pulmonary artery remains greater than 25 to 30 mm of Hg. You may live a healthy lifestyle with it. But at times, it may hinder with your day-to-day activities. Avoid lifting heavy objects, high-intensity interval workout, and high paced running. Make sure you carry oxygen supply with you when going to high altitudes. The most common symptom of pulmonary hypertension is shortness of breath. If you or anyone in your family has the same complaint, visit a chest specialist in Islamabad.