What is Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension?
When the pressure on the right side of the heart is higher than the normal level, it is considered to be a state of hypertension. Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) occurs when the blood vessels in the lungs are corrupted and become thick and narrow. When the heart tries to pump blood through these thick and narrow blood vessels, the pressure on the right side of the heart increases. Pulmonary arterial hypertension can lead to an occurrence of many other things, such as
- The backup of blood in the veins returns blood to the heart.
- An increased pressure on the right side of the heart to pump against pushing blood through the lungs.
It is essential to treat this increased pressure on the right side of the heart as it can weaken the heart and increase the possibility of heart failure. In addition, it affects the right side of the heart and the brain as it affects the body’s oxygen level and results in a decreased level of oxygen in the brain. Pulmonary arterial hypertension has three types, heritable pulmonary arterial hypertension, idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension, and associated pulmonary arterial hypertension.
Persistent Newborn Pulmonary Hypertension is a kind of Pulmonary arterial hypertension that affects the baby before the baby is born. It is a condition in which the circulatory system of the newborn baby is unable to adapt the breathing techniques outside the womb. As a result, when the babies are not born, they do not use their lungs for breathing; instead, they get oxygen from the umbilical cord and placenta from the mother.
What Does Pulmonary Heart Disease Feel Like?
A disease like pulmonary arterial hypertension can take months or years to develop and won’t show any clear signs of occurrence in the early stages of the disease. However, the symptoms may worsen with time if one does not seek the necessary medical treatment. Some of the most common symptoms of pulmonary arterial hypertension that one should look out for are as follows:-
- Chest Pain
- Rapid heart rate
- Shortness of breath
- Swelling in the ankle and legs
Usually, these symptoms are ignored by most people. Still, when this disease progresses, the symptoms become more noticeable. People can experience extreme tiredness and shortness of breath to such an extent that it might interfere with their daily lives.
What is the Most Common Cause of Pulmonary Hypertension?
Usually, it is difficult to determine the causes of this disease. Still, many studies suggest that many factors can lead to the development of pulmonary arterial hypertension. Some of the leading causes of PAH that one should watch for are as follows.
1. Connective tissue diseases:-
Connective tissues diseases like Scleroderma and lupus are said to be one of the causes of pulmonary arterial hypertension. Scleroderma is an autoimmune disease that affects the skin and changes its color. It can also affect other body organs, such as blood vessels, muscles, and skin. The development of this disease is due to the poor immune system and can lead to poor blood flow, extreme tiredness, stiffness, etc.
Consider: Medicines for lupus include Hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil), Hydroquin 400 Mg, HCQS 400 Mg, etc.
HIV is a human deficiency virus that causes HIV infection and leads to AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). It is a condition where the immune system fails to function correctly and allows many life-threatening health problems. According to many studies, HIV is considered one of the rare causes of pulmonary arterial hypertension. The infections that occur with HIV increase the risk of PAH.
3. Liver diseases:-
Liver diseases are also highly associated with pulmonary arterial hypertension. It is a medical condition in which a person experiences damage to the liver. There are many liver diseases, but cirrhosis is the most associated one. Cirrhosis is a severe medical condition in which the healthy tissues are progressively transformed into scarred tissue, resulting in impeded blood flow in the liver.
4. Use of illicit drugs:-
Use of illegal drugs such as cocaine, methamphetamines are believed to be the reason for the development of pulmonary arterial hypertension. Though the mechanism of action of such drugs is not exactly precise, one should avoid taking illicit drugs.
What is the Best Treatment for Pulmonary Hypertension?
There is no permanent cure for PAH. Still, by taking proper medical treatment, one can manage the health complications. One should consult a medical professional at the earliest to start the necessary treatment. Though there are many effective treatment options available to manage pulmonary arterial hypertension, one may choose anyone out of the following after consulting a doctor.
- Inhaled medicine
- Oxygen therapy
- Heart and lung surgery
- Medicine given through the veins under the skin
- Medicine to reduce swelling in the feet (diuretics)
These medications help open the blood vessels in the lungs and reduce the strain on the heart, resulting in an improved blood flow through the lungs. In addition, the doctors may recommend many phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension.
However, when PAH occurs due to an underlying health condition, then treatment is given for that cause on a priority basis. For example, suppose medication fails to control the symptoms and lower the high blood pressure in the lung. In that case, heart or lung surgery may be recommended.
Also read: 5 Simple Tips To Control Blood Pressure
Can Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension Be Cured?
There is no permanent cure available for a disease like pulmonary arterial hypertension. However, getting early medical treatment can help manage the symptoms and reduce the risk of permanent damage to pulmonary arteries. If left untreated, PAH can worsen with time and lead to the medical complication of heart failure.
Though not all cases of PAH can be prevented, by bringing in the right lifestyle changes, one can lower the risk of significant complications. The treatment for pulmonary arterial hypertension can vary among people. Consult your general physician to work out an effective treatment plan for PAH.