Pulmonary Hypertension

Pulmonary Hypertension

Pulmonary hypertension, or PH, is increased pressure in the pulmonary arteries. These arteries carry blood from your heart to your lungs to pick up oxygen.

PH causes symptoms such as shortness of breath during routine activity (for example, climbing two flights of stairs), tiredness, chest pain, and a racing heartbeat. As the condition worsens, its symptoms may limit all physical activity.

What causes pulmonary hypertension?

PH begins with inflammation and changes in the cells that line your pulmonary arteries. Other factors also can affect the pulmonary arteries and cause PH. For example, the condition may develop if:

  • The walls of the arteries tighten.
  • The walls of the arteries are stiff at birth or become stiff from an overgrowth of cells.
  • Blood clots form in the arteries.

These changes make it hard for your heart to push blood through your pulmonary arteries and into your lungs. Thus, the pressure in the arteries rises, causing PH.

How is pulmonary hypertension treated?

PH has no cure. However, treatment may help relieve symptoms and slow the progress of the disease.

PH is treated with medicines, procedures, and other therapies. Treatment will depend on what type of PH you have and its severity.