Pulmonary hypertension is high blood pressure of the pulmonary arteries, which supply blood to the lungs. The high blood pressure occurs due to narrowed or blocked pulmonary arteries. Since these are narrowed or blocked, blood flows harder through the lungs.
Pulmonary hypertension becomes progressively worse and can be fatal.
The symptoms of pulmonary hypertension are:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Swelling in the legs
The causes of pulmonary hypertension are the changes to the pulmonary arteries. The walls of these arteries can become stiff and thickened, or these arteries can be blocked by a clot. These changes to the pulmonary arteries can be cause by several factors: unknown reasons, another disease (emphysema, embolism, lupus, chronic liver disease, pulmonary fibrosis, left heart failure, etc.) or congenital heart defect.
The risk factors for pulmonary hypertension are:
- age – young people develop pulmonary hypertension of unknown cause, while older develop it due to another disease
- family history
- gene mutation that causes pulmonary hypertension
Pulmonary hypertension can lead to serious complications:
- Bleeding in the lungs and coughing up blood; this could be fatal
- Right-sided heart failure can occur because it has to pump harder to supply sufficient blood to the lungs, whose arteries are narrowed or blocked. The harder it pumps, the weaker it becomes.
- Blood clots – pulmonary hypertension facilitates development of more clots in the small arteries in your lungs; if they are already narrowed or blocked, the condition gets worse
- Arrhythmia, which can lead to palpitations, dizziness or fainting and can be fatal.