Pulmonary Hypertension Program
About Pulmonary Hypertension
Pulmonary Hypertension (PH) is high blood pressure in the blood vessels of the lungs. It occurs when the small blood vessels that go through the lungs become thicker, constrict or become plugged. This, in turn, makes the right side of the heart work harder to pump blood through the lungs. If PH worsens, the heart will become enlarged and weaker, pumping blood less efficiently into the lungs and throughout the body. Patients then develop progressive fatigue and shortness of breath, two typical symptoms of pulmonary hypertension.
Causes of Pulmonary HypertensionThere are more than 20 known causes of pulmonary hypertension, which can affect people of any age, race and ethnic background. It is more common in women than in men. Learn more about the types of pulmonary hypertension.
Early Diagnosis, Specialized Treatment Are KeySince symptoms of pulmonary hypertension can be caused by other heart and lung conditions, it is important for patients to be correctly diagnosed as early as possible. PH is usually a chronic condition that can be difficult to treat. Fortunately, recent discoveries and continued research are giving specialists the tools to treat the condition more effectively, helping patients feel better and improving the quality of their lives. As a result, primary care physicians are looking for this disease sooner in patients and referring patients for specialized care in more timely ways. Learn more about diagnosis and treatment of pulmonary hypertension.
Symptoms of Pulmonary HypertensionEarly in the disease, symptoms may be nonspecific and can mimic symptoms of other medical conditions. It is also possible that patients may experience only limited symptoms. Symptoms typically associated with pulmonary hypertension include:
- Progressive shortness of breath (also called dyspnea)
- Fatigue or tiredness in association to shortness of breath
- Chest pain or pressure that typically occurs during activity (angina)
- Dizzy spells that typically occur during activity or exercise
- Leg swelling (edema)
- Rapid pulse rate (tachycardia)
- Heart throbbing (palpitations)
Date: July 18, 2012
Online Editor(s): Richard Petre