Pulmonary Hypertension is a condition whereby the blood pressure in the pulmonary arteries of the lungs becomes very high as a result of the narrowing of the pulmonary arteries, thereby making it difficult for blood to flow through the pulmonary arteries. The pulmonary arteries carry oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the lungs.
To pump blood to the lungs, the heart works much harder. The extra pressure strains the right ventricle of the heart and causes the right ventricle to expand in size. The right ventricle gradually becomes weaker as a result of the extra pressure and expansion in size, thereby losing its ability to pump sufficient blood to the lungs. This strains or pressure in the right ventricle of the heart and could lead to the development of right heart failure.
Symptoms of Pulmonary hypertension
Symptoms develop slowly. You may not notice any symptoms early enough. As it gets worse, you will begin to notice symptoms. Symptoms become more severe as the disease gets worse.
- Lips and skin that turns blue
- Pressure or pain in the chest
- Dizziness or fainting
- Heart palpitations
- Shortness of breath during activities or when at rest
- Swelling in the ankles, legs, and eventually in the abdomen
Possible causes are:
1. Liver diseases
Chronic liver disease and liver cirrhosis can cause the problem.
2. Rheumatic disorders
It can also be caused by rheumatic disorders such as scleroderma or lupus.
3. Lung conditions
Lung conditions including tumors, emphysema, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and pulmonary fibrosis can cause pulmonary hypertension.
4. Certain heart diseases
It can also be caused by certain heart diseases, including aortic valve disease, left heart failure, mitral heart valve disease, and congenital heart disease.
5. Thromboembolic disease
A disease that occurs as a result of a blood clot in a large pulmonary artery that can cause pulmonary hypertension.
6. Low-oxygen conditions
Low-oxygen conditions including obesity and sleep apnea can also cause pulmonary hypertension.
It can be inherited in rare cases. If any of your parents or someone in your family has pulmonary hypertension, you’re at risk of developing it.
8. Other health conditions
Certain blood disorders, inflammatory disorders, metabolic disorders, kidney disease, and tumors pressing against the pulmonary arteries can lead to the development of pulmonary hypertension.
It can be difficult to diagnose, especially at its early stage because you may not detect any symptoms. To diagnose it, your doctor will perform a physical exam and review your symptoms. Your doctor may also ask some questions about your medical and family history.
Multiple tests may be conducted. Tests that may be conducted include:
1. Blood tests
To help determine the cause of it.
2. Chest X-ray
To check for lung conditions that can cause hypertension.
3. Electrocardiogram (ECG)
To help detect changes in the heartbeat patterns that may show signs of right ventricle enlargement or strain.
An Echocardiogram shows blood flow through the heart and can help show signs of pulmonary hypertension.
5. Right heart catheterization
To confirm the diagnosis from an echocardiogram.
Other diagnostic tests that may be conducted include:
- A heart (cardiac) CT scan
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Lung (pulmonary) function test
- Open-lung biopsy
- Ventilation/perfusion (V/Q) scan
- Asleep study (polysomnogram)
Pulmonary Hypertension Treatment in Waco, TX
While there is no permanent cure for it, treatment aims to improve symptoms and slow down the progress of hypertension. The underlying cause of hypertension will often determine the treatment options that will be used.
Treatment options are:
Medications help to improve symptoms and also slow down the progression of hypertension.
Medications that may be prescribed include:
1. Blood vessel dilators (vasodilators)
It relaxes and opens up narrowed pulmonary arteries to improve blood flow. Vasodilators can be taken orally, inhaled, injected, or given through IV infusion. Epoprostenol is a commonly prescribed vasodilator for pulmonary hypertension. Other types of vasodilators that may be prescribed include treprostinil and iloprost. These medications have some side effects including nausea, headaches, and pain.
2. Medications to widen blood vessels
Endothelin receptor antagonists are medications that help to reverse the effect of a substance in the walls of the pulmonary arteries that cause them to narrow. Examples of endothelin receptor antagonists include bosentan, macitentan, and ambrisentan. These medications can cause serious side effects such as damaging the liver. You will need to undergo monthly blood tests to check your liver function.
3. Medications to increase blood flow
Phosphodiesterase 5 (PDE5) inhibitors are medications that may be used to increase blood flow through the lungs. These medicines include sildenafil and tadalafil.
4. Blood thinners
Blood thinners help to prevent blood clots. Warfarin is a commonly prescribed blood-thinning drug to help prevent blood clots.
This medication helps make the heartbeat stronger and pump more blood to the lungs. It can also help control irregular heartbeats.
Diuretics help the kidneys remove excess fluid from the body which, in turn, reduces the amount of work the heart needs to do.
7. Guanylate cyclase (GSC) stimulators
This medication increases nitric oxide in the body. An increase in nitric oxide helps to relax the pulmonary arteries and lowers the pressure in the lungs.
If medications do not help improve the symptoms of pulmonary hypertension, surgery may be recommended.
Surgical procedures for it include:
1. Atrial septostomy
This is open-heart surgery. During the surgery, a surgeon will create an opening between the upper left and right chambers of your heart to relieve the pressure on the right side of your heart.
2. Lung or heart-lung transplant
A lung or heart-lung transplant is the removal of a narrowed or damaged lung and replacing it with a healthy one from a donor.
How can you reverse pulmonary hypertension naturally?
You can reverse pulmonary hypertension naturally by:
- Staying active
- Light exercises
- Having plenty of rest
- Avoid smoking
- Avoid living in high altitudes
- Eat healthy diets
- Reduce excess weight and maintain a healthy weight
- Regular health checkups
- Avoid things that can lower your blood pressure
Does walking help pulmonary hypertension?
Light exercises such as walking can help improve.
If you have pulmonary hypertension, what foods should you avoid?
Avoid stimulants such as caffeine and alcohol.
Reduce your salt intake.
What were your first symptoms of pulmonary hypertension?
The first symptom is usually shortness of breath, particularly during activities. Dizziness, fatigue, and fainting spells may occur as the disease progresses.
Is pulmonary hypertension curable?
It is not curable. Treatment aims to improve symptoms and slow down the progression of the disease.
Is pulmonary hypertension considered a terminal illness?
It is a progressive disease and can’t be cured. It can result in heart failure and can lead to death. In conclusion, it is considered a terminal disease.
What worsens pulmonary hypertension?
Things that could worsen pulmonary hypertension include:
- Being overweight
- Excessive stress
- Unhealthy eating habits
- Taking caffeine and alcohol
- Living in high altitudes
Does pulmonary hypertension show up on ECG?
Electrocardiogram (ECG) is a test that records the electrical activity of the heart. ECG can detect and record changes in heartbeat patterns. ECG may show signs of right ventricle enlargement or strain in the right ventricle.