Pulmonary Hypertension Month

Arteries in the lungs of people with PH can become damaged, narrowed or stiff. It can also be putting pressure on the right side of the heart and causing it to work extra hard to push blood through those arteries. This in turn can cause right heart failure and death.PH affects people of all ages, races and ethnic backgrounds. Although anyone can get PH, there are risk factors that make some people more likely to develop the disease.

THE 5 GROUPS OF PH(Pulmonary Hypertension)

Group 1 is the General PH, which is caused when the arteries in the lungs become narrowed, thickened or stiff. The right side of the heart must work harder to push blood through these narrowed arteries. Group 2(MOST COMMON) includes PH due to left heart disease. In this group of PH,there are problems with how the heart squeezes or relaxes, or problems with the valves on the left side of the heart. Because of this, the left heart is unable to keep up with the blood returning from the lungs causing a “backup” of blood which raises pressure in the lungs. Group 3 includes PH due to chronic lung disease or hypoxia (low oxygen levels). These lung diseases include obstructive lung disease where the lung airways narrow and make it harder to exhale. Restrictive lung disease is when the lungs have a tough time expanding when one inhales. Arteries in the lungs tighten so that blood can only go to areas of the lungs that are receiving the most air and oxygen. This tightening leads to high blood pressure throughout the lungs. Group 4 is called chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH). CTEPH can occur when the body is not able to dissolve a blood clot in the lungs. This can lead to scar tissue in the blood vessels of the lungs, which blocks normal blood flow and makes the right side of the heart work harder. Group 5 is where PH is secondary to other diseases in ways that are not well understood. These associated conditions include sarcoidosis, sickle cell anemia, chronic hemolytic anemia, splenectomy (spleen removal) and certain metabolic disorders.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS

People with PH can experience shortness of breath, dizziness, fatigue, chest pain, heart palpitations or edema (swelling)

TREATMENTS

Although there is no cure for Pulmonary Hypertension, there are medications and procedures that can slow the progression of the disease and improve your quality of life. Treatment options vary from person to person, so you will want to work closely with your doctor to determine the best plan for you.

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