What is Pulmonary Hypertension and PAH?

"Pulmonary Hypertension" aka "PAH" (medical name is "Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension") is a very serious disease, which condition may be treated but not completely cured.

A good date to research Pulmonary Hypertension disease and learn about ways to Treat or Stop PAH from getting worse by starting today

pulmonary-hypertension pictures normal vs abnormal

Pulmonary arterial hypertension is excessive high blood pressure in the lung arteries. The condition forces the heart right side to work harder than it normally should.

Causes of Pulmonary Hypertension Disease

The right side of the heart pumps blood through the lungs, where it gets oxygen. Blood returns to the left side of the heart, where it is pumped to the "rest of the" body.

When the small arteries a.k.a. blood vessels of the lungs become narrowed, they cannot carry as much blood. When this happens, pressure builds-up. This is called pulmonary hypertension, or PAH.

The heart needs to work harder to force the blood thru the vessels against this extra pressure. Over time, this causes the right side of the heart to become larger. This condition is called right-sided heart failure, or cor pulmonale.

Pulmonary hypertension issues and possible causes:

If pulmonary hypertension is caused by a known medicine or medical condition, it is called secondary pulmonary hypertension. In many PAH patients, the cause of pulmonary hypertension is not known. In this case, the condition is called idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension; i.e. idiopathic fibrosis. Idiopathic means the exact disease cause is not known. Idiopathic pulmonary hypertension is rare and affects more women than men for unknown reasons.

Symptoms of Pulmonary Hypertension

Shortness of breath or light-headedness during activity is often the first symptom. Fast heart rate (palpitations) may be present. As as the PAH condition worsens, symptoms may occur with light activity or even while resting.

Other symptoms include:

People with pulmonary hypertension often have come-and-go symptoms reporting both 'good days' and 'bad days'

Exams and Tests for Pulmonary Hypertension

A physical examination may show:

In the early stages of PAH disease, the exam may be normal or almost normal. The condition may take several months to diagnose. Asthma and other diseases may cause similar symptoms and must be ruled out.

atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease of the heart

Medical testing may include:

Treatment for Pulmonary Hypertension

There is no cure for pulmonary hypertension. The goal of treatment is to control symptoms and prevent more lung damage. It is important to treat medical disorders that cause pulmonary hypertension, such as obstructive sleep apnea, lung conditions, and heart valve problems.

Many treatment options for pulmonary arterial hypertension are available. If you are prescribed meds, they may be taken by orally, received through the vein (intravenous, or IV), or inhaled.

Your doctor will decide which medicine is best for you. You will be closely monitored during treatment to watch for side effects and to see how well you are responding to "the medicine." Do not stop taking your medicines without talking to your doctor.

Other treatments may include:

Other important tips to follow:

Outlook/Prognosis for Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension

How well you do depends on what caused the condition.

As the illness gets worse, you will need to make changes in your home to help you get around the house.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your health care provider if:

Alternative Names

Pulmonary arterial hypertension; Sporadic primary pulmonary hypertension; Familial primary pulmonary hypertension; Idiopathic pulmonary hypertension; Arterial Hypertension; Primary pulmonary hypertension; PPH; PAH; Secondary PAH.

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