Pulmonary Hypertension (PH) occurs when the pressure in your pulmonary arteries is too high. These arteries carry blood to your lungs to get the oxygen it needs.
In the early stages of PH, there might not be any symptoms for some people.
The symptoms of PH that you might notice first include:
- Shortness of breath during normal activities
- Chest Pain
- Racing heartbeat
- Limited physical activity (as the condition worsens)
What Causes Pulmonary Hypertension?
Your healthcare provider may need to order a series of tests to determine the cause of your PH because it can be difficult to pinpoint the cause. Sometimes the cause is genetics, and sometimes the cause is never known.
Some of the known causes of PH include:
- Connective tissue diseases (like lupus or scleroderma)
- Use of illicit drugs (cocaine and methamphetamines)
- Use of prescription amphetamines or diet pills
- Congenital heart defects
- Liver disease
How is PH Treated?
PH currently has no cure, but there are several types of treatments available to slow its progression and reduce the symptoms.
These treatments include:
- Oral medications
- Inhaled medications
- IV medications (fed continuously into a vein)
These medications are given to help open the blood vessels in your lungs to improve blood flow and reduce strain on the heart. Many PH patients are also required to take medications that help remove excess fluid buildup in the body.
PH patients may also be referred to a pulmonary rehabilitation program that helps them become more active and breathe easier.