Pulmonary hypertension is when you have high blood pressure in the arteries that connect your heart and lungs. This condition causes your lungs arteries to become narrowed, causing blood to flow less efficiently and reducing the amount of oxygen in your blood. As a result, your heart has to work harder to pump blood through those arteries, which weakens the heart muscle.
Pulmonary hypertension can affect anyone at any age, but it is more common in women and people over 75. If this condition is left untreated, it can lead eventually lead to heart failure. For that reason, you should start treatment as soon as possible to manage your symptoms and prevent complications.
What are the symptoms of pulmonary hypertension?
Symptoms of pulmonary hypertension develop gradually and do not usually appear until your condition has progressed.
Symptoms of pulmonary hypertension include:
- Breathing problems
- Fatigue and decreased appetite
- Pain or pressure in the chest
- Dizziness or fainting
- Heart palpitations
- Persistent shortness of breath
- Swelling of the ankles, legs, and abdomen
What are the causes of pulmonary hypertension?
Genetics may play a role as pulmonary hypertension is inherited in some cases. In other cases, pulmonary hypertension is caused by a different condition, including:
- Congenital heart disease
- Congestive heart failure
- Connective tissue disease
- Blood clots in the lungs
- Infections (such as HIV or schistosomiasis)
- Liver disease (cirrhosis)
- Lung diseases (such as pulmonary fibrosis and emphysema)
How is pulmonary hypertension diagnosed?
During your consultation, our pulmonologist will go over your medical and family history and perform a physical examination. They may request blood tests and imaging tests (such as chest X-rays or CT scans) to diagnose pulmonary hypertension and determine the cause of the condition. They may also order an electrocardiogram (ECG), which uses sound waves to record the electrical activity of the heart and measure blood flow through the heart.
If you have been diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension, the physician may perform a right heart catheterization by inserting a catheter (thin, flexible tube) into a blood artery to assess blood pressure in the main pulmonary arteries and right ventricle.
How is pulmonary hypertension treated?
When pulmonary hypertension is caused by another condition, the underlying cause should be treated as soon as possible.
Several treatment options are available to alleviate pulmonary hypertension symptoms and decrease the disease’s progression.
Making lifestyle changes may help with the treatment of pulmonary hypertension. These changes include:
- Getting plenty of rest
- Exercising regularly
- Avoiding smoking
- Following a healthy diet
- Taking all prescribed medications
- Getting the required vaccines
- Managing high blood pressure
- Have regular follow-up appointments with the doctor
- Blood vessel dilators: to relax and open constricted blood arteries.
- Anticoagulants (blood thinners): to prevent blood clots and remove excess fluid.
- Digoxin: to improve the heart’s ability to beat faster and pump more blood.
- Diuretics (water pills): to remove excess fluid from the body and help with fluid retention in the lungs, legs, and abdomen.
- Other medications: to enhance blood flow or widen blood arteries.
- Oxygen therapy (breathing pure oxygen) to treat low blood oxygen levels.
If medication did not effectively manage symptoms, the following procedures may be used to treat pulmonary hypertension:
– Atrial septostomy: This procedure involves the removal of the septum from the heart. The surgeon creates an opening between the top left and right chambers of the heart to relieve pressure on the right side of the heart.
– Pulmonary thromboendarterectomy: During this procedure, blood clots in the pulmonary artery are surgically removed to improve blood flow and lung function.
Schedule your appointment at Novomed today!
If you have symptoms of pulmonary hypertension, make an appointment with our expert pulmonologist in Dubai to learn more about your condition and treatment options.
Book your consultation today by calling toll-free 8006686 or clicking the live chat icon at the bottom of the screen.