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Pulmonary arterial Hypertension

Description

Pulmonary arterial hypertension is a condition characterized by high blood pressure in the lungs. This condition is different from regular hypertension (raised blood pressure). In pulmonary arterial hypertension, the arteries going from the heart towards the lungs get narrow or obstructed, therefore, causing hindrance in the flow of blood that results in increased blood pressure in the lungs.

Causes

Causes of pulmonary arterial hypertension can be classified as idiopathic (no known cause) and pulmonary arterial hypertension caused by an underlying disease. Idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension can be linked to genetics in some cases. Diseases that can cause pulmonary arterial hypertension include:

  • Congestive heart failure,
  • Blood clots in the lungs,
  • Human immunodeficiency virus,
  • Drug abuse,
  • Liver diseases,
  • Autoimmune diseases like lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and scleroderma,
  • Congenital (present since birth) heart defects,
  • Lung diseases such as bronchitis (inflammation of bronchus), fibrosis (hardening of tissues), and emphysema (obstruction of alveoli in lungs),
  • Sleep apnea (sleeping disorder characterized by sudden cessation of breathing).
Risk factors

Sometimes, the cause of High blood pressure in lungs is difficult to be determined and doctors term this idiopathic pulmonary hypertension where family (genetic) history might be a factor.

Few factors are known to increase the risk of this condition:

  • Blood clots in lungs.
  • Congestive heart failure.
  • Liver disease e.g. cirrhosis.
  • Illegal drug use like cocaine.
  • Heavy smoking.
  • HIV and other autoimmune diseases.
  • A birth heart defect.
  • Lung diseases like emphysema and lung fibrosis.
Symptoms

Symptoms of pulmonary arterial hypertension include:

  • Shortness of breath on exertion,
  • Chest pain,
  • Fatigue,
  • Swelling of ankles and legs,
  • Dizziness and fainting spells,
  • Heart palpitations (pounding and racing),
  • Lips and fingers turning blue.
Diagnosis

A person with the complaint of shortness of breath will see a doctor who makes a diagnosis by taking a detailed history of smoking and drug usage, heart and lung disease in a family, the severity of chest pain and suffocation and factors that increase these symptoms.

He will further perform these tests:

  • An Echocardiogram is an ultrasound picture that helps check the blood pressure in pulmonary arteries.
  • CT scan will help see enlarged pulmonary arteries and other reasons for shortness of breath.
  • Ventilation-perfusion scan (V/Q scan) helps see blood clots causing blockage in lungs.
  • EKG or ECG (Electrocardiogram) traces heart’s activity and can detect if the right side of the heart is under strain which is a warning sign of pulmonary hypertension.
  • Chest X-Ray helps see any lung disease or heart defect and enlarged arteries or heart.
  • Exercise testing is done while the patient is asked to cycle or treadmill to see the change in oxygen levels, heart function and lung pressure during exertion.
  • Blood tests to check for HIV and other autoimmune problems.
  • Right heart catheterization is done to check the severity of disease after the presence of pulmonary hypertension has been confirmed.
Management

Treatment for pulmonary hypertension is aimed at the cause of the disease.

  • If blood clots are causing hypertension then Blood thinners are prescribed.
  • When emphysema and lung fibrosis is the cause then Oxygen therapy is given through nose so fresh oxygen is made available.
  • Calcium channel blockers are given to lower extreme high blood pressure in lungs and other body parts.
  • Anti-hypertensive drugs.
  • Very extreme conditions require Surgery to correct lung and heart defects.

 

When to consult a doctor?

You should consult a doctor if your condition worsens, there is no improvement in your condition, you start experiencing new side effects because of the medicines, your symptoms start hampering your daily life, and there is a general feeling of discomfort.

Available Medicine for Pulmonary arterial Hypertension

Bosmon 62.5mg

Rs.560

Highnoon