By Dr. Anand N Yannawar, Pulmonology
Pulmonary Hypertension is a disease which is similar to high blood pressure which affects the right side of the heart and arteries in the lungs. In one form of Pulmonary Hypertension, tiny arteries in the lungs get blocked, narrowed, or destroyed. Pulmonary Hypertension makes the flow of blood harder and raises the pressure within arteries. As the pressure hardens, the right side of the heart pushes harder to pump the blood, causing the heart and muscle to weaken and fail.
Symptoms of Pulmonary Hypertension
In early stages of Pulmonary Hypertension, the signs and symptoms are not recognizable for months or even years. But as it progresses, the symptoms become worse and then people get to know that they are probably suffering from this disease.
Some of the symptoms of Pulmonary Hypertension are listed below:
● Shortness of breath, initially while exercising.
● Extreme tiredness from mental or physical exertion.
● Feeling of the sensation of spinning around.
● Feeling of pain in the chest.
● When the person diagnosed has a bluish colour to the skin and lips. Causes of Pulmonary Hypertension With the rise in blood pressure, the cells that line the pulmonary arteries will change. Due to this change, the wall of the arteries become thick and stiff and some extra tissues may form and even the blood vessels become intense and tight. All these things can block blood flow through the vessels and thus increase blood pressure.
Some of the scenarios that might lead to Pulmonary Hypertension are listed below:
● When a person is overweight.
● When people use illegal drugs such as cocaine.
● When one has a genetic disease running in the family history.
● When people take various medications to lower their food intake.
● If one has a sleep disorder.
● If one has long-term exposure to high altitude.
● If there is any blood clot in the lungs. Treatments of Pulmonary Hypertension Doctors can ask a person to go through several tests (Echocardiogram, chest X-ray, blood tests) and then determine the severity of the condition. Pulmonary hypertension cannot be cured, but doctors can help stabilise the condition. The treatments are often complex and require an intense follow-up.
Some of the treatments of Pulmonary Hypertension are listed below:
● Vasodilators are the most common things prescribed by doctors. This helps open the narrowed blood vessels.
● Water pills can be used to remove excess fluid from the body. This reduces the amount of work the heart has to do.
● There are many medicines which are sometimes used to allow open blood vessels and increase the flow of blood.
● If no other medication works, then an individual has to go through surgery (open-heart surgery or transplantation).
Pulmonary Hypertension is one of the most common problems in our country. According to research, 1 in every 8 Indians suffers from hypertension. Lifestyle changes can generally help with this. In severe cases, one should always consult an experienced doctor to get the right path of treatment.