Primary Pulmonary Hypertension
This is a lung disorder where blood pressure in the pulmonary artery rises far above normal levels. The cause of pulmonary hypertension is not yet known. Some scientists believe blood vessels are particularly sensitive to certain internal or external factors and constrict or narrow the pulmonary artery.
Symptoms of pulmonary hypertension include:
- Trouble getting enough air
- Racing pulse
- Bluish lips
- Chest pain
- Heart palpitations
- Difficulty breathing
- Dizziness and fainting
- Swelling in ankles and legs
Diagnosing and Treating Pulmonary Hypertension Pulmonary hypertension is rarely diagnosed in a routine medical evaluation, but is usually found by process of elimination. Symptoms mask other conditions affecting the heart and lungs. Diagnostic procedures can include:
Photo courtesy of Brigham Young Radiology at
Harvard Medical School
The treatment may include anticoagulants to reduce the blood’s tendency to clot and permit blood to flow freely. Diuretics may be prescribed to reduce body fluids and the pumping demands on the heart. Medications, like calcium channel blocking drugs, can help lower blood pressure in the lungs, and improve the heart’s pumping ability. Some patients may benefit from supplemental oxygen.
If you suspect pulmonary hypertension, consult with your primary care physician or a pulmonary specialist.