What is Pulmonary hypertension?
This is a type of high blood pressure that affects the arteries of the lungs and the right side of the heart. It is also known as Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH). Although this is a life-threatening condition, a proper treatment and follow-up schedules with a doctor will lessen the severity of the symptoms while improving longevity.
How is it different from high blood pressure?
In PAH, there is high blood pressure in the arteries that run from the heart to the lungs. When the arteries in the lungs get narrower and blocked making it difficult for blood to flow freely, blood pressure rises in the lungs.
It is very different from having a regular high blood pressure.
Causes of PAH
There are a few illnesses and risk factors that can act as the cause of Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH).
• Congestive heart failure
• Blood clots in lungs
• Drug Abuse (like cocaine or methamphetamine)
• Liver diseases (cirrhosis of the liver)
• Lupus, scleroderma, rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases
• An inborn heart defect
• Lung diseases like emphysema, chronic bronchitis, or pulmonary fibrosis
• Sleep apnea
• Certain appetite-suppressant medications
However, in certain cases, the doctor is unable to diagnose the reason for PAH, given the fact, that the patient suffers from none of these circumstances. Then the condition is called idiopathic pulmonary hypertension. The doctor concludes the cause as being genetic.
Symptoms of PAH
There are usually no prominent signs and symptoms in the initial months up to a few years that direct towards PAH. But as the condition advances, the symptoms start growing worse.
• Shortness of breath or dyspnea
• Fatigue and chronic weakness
• Experiencing pressure and pain in the chest region
• Swelling in ankles and legs followed by abdominal swelling (ascites)
• Bluish color in lips and skin (cyanosis)
• Brisk heart palpitations
Diagnosis & Treatment of PAH
If you experience any of these symptoms, you must visit a doctor at the earliest to confirm any health condition. If the doctor suspects PAH, he might ask you a few questions about your lifestyle habits, family history and more details of your symptoms to proceed further with the diagnosis.
Depending on the severity and types of symptoms, the doctor will treat PAH and its underlying conditions. Medications, blood thinners, and therapies are some options to treat this condition. However, if no amount of medications help at times, a surgery can be recommended to treat Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension.
Although a health condition cannot be averted, taking care and going for preventive health check-ups are always a boon for early detection. It is important to
• Stay Active with light exercises like walking and yoga asanas.
• Eat Healthy diet comprising of seasonal fruits and veggies with whole grains.
• Get plenty of sleep as PAH demands body rest.
Visit a pulmonologist and discuss matters for the clinical treatment of Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension. PAH, despite being a serious illness can be treated if taken care of at the right time. Identify the symptoms and book appointment with your nearest doctor online.