Pulmonary hypertension: key symptoms and causes

Pulmonary arterial hypertension is one type of pulmonary hypertension and blood vessels in your lungs can get blocked, narrowed, or even destroyed. Because of this damage, the blood flow to your lungs slows down, and pressure in your lung arteries increases. 


As a result, your heart usually works harder to supply blood through the lungs. With some people, the condition can get worse and even become life-threatening. This post discusses some of the symptoms and causes of pulmonary hypertension 


Symptoms and causes

By now, you may be asking yourself What is pulmonary hypertension?. Well, Pulmonary hypertension is a form of high blood pressure that can affect the small arteries of your heart and lungs. The symptoms of pulmonary hypertension can develop slowly, so you may see them for months or years. 


Unfortunately, these symptoms can get worse as the disease develops. Some of these symptoms include shortness of breath, at first when you’re exercising and later while at rest.


Other symptoms are fatigue, fainting spells or dizziness, swelling in your ankles, legs, and later in your abdomen. You may also notice heart palpitations and bluish coloration to your skin and lips. Therefore, when you see these symptoms, you need to consult your doctor.


You see, pulmonary hypertension can be caused by various factors and conditions. Your heart has two lower chambers called ventricles and two upper chambers also known as atria. Therefore, every time blood goes through your heart, the right ventricle pumps blood to the lungs via a large blood vessel called the pulmonary artery.


In the lungs, the blood picks up oxygen after releasing carbon dioxide. The flow of blood in the blood vessels that are in your lungs is supposed to be easy as it goes to the left side of your heart. But there can be changes in the lining of cells of the pulmonary arteries to cause the walls of arteries to become thick, swollen, and stiff. These changes can slow down or even block this blood flow through your lungs to cause pulmonary hypertension.


Risk factors

As you grow order there is a chance that you can develop pulmonary hypertension. This condition is usually diagnosed in people who are between the ages of 30 and 60 years old. But when it comes to idiopathic PAH, younger adults are usually diagnosed with this condition. So if you see any of these symptoms, you need to contact a medical source for help.


Various other factors can also increase the risk of you getting pulmonary hypertension, such as a family history of this condition, being overweight, and blood-clotting disorders. Others include exposure to asbestos, living at high altitude, use of serotonin reuptake inhibitors that are used to treat anxiety and depression, and the use of illegal drugs like cocaine.  


There are some complications related to pulmonary hypertension. Your right side of the heart enlarges and heart failure is quite common. The heart can try to compensate by thickening the walls and expanding its right ventricle chamber to increase the flow of blood it can take. As you can see, when you suspect that you have symptoms related to this condition, you need to consult your doctor immediately.