What is pulmonary hypertension? 

Pulmonary hypertension is a type of high blood pressure that affects your lungs’ blood vessels. 

In one form of pulmonary hypertension, PAH (pulmonary arterial hypertension), blood vessels in your lungs are narrowed, blocked, or damaged. The damage slows blood flow through your lungs, and blood pressure in the lung arteries rises. Your heart must work harder to pump blood through your lungs. The extra effort eventually causes your heart muscle to become weak, which can cause you to feel short of breath. Other symptoms may include chest pain, leg swelling, dizziness, belly pain, and in rare cases, coughing up blood. 

How is pulmonary hypertension diagnosed? 

To diagnose PH, you will need an echocardiogram, a chest X-ray, or CT scan of the chest, an ECG (electrocardiogram), blood tests, and possibly a sleep study. Lastly, pulmonary artery catheterization, a test that measures the blood vessels’ pressure to the lungs, might be ordered. 

What is the treatment for pulmonary hypertension? 

Treatments include medications that can lower your blood pressure in the lungs. Other drugs can consist of diuretics, which help reduce the swelling in the legs. Blood thinners are also sometimes prescribed to prevent blood clots from forming in the lungs. You may need oxygen or, in severe cases, may require surgery, where you may need a lung transplantation or heart-lung transplantation. 

Another type of surgery can involve creating a hole in your heart to alleviate its workload. In some cases, pulmonary hypertension can be severe and without a permanent cure. Treatments in many people can make them feel better and live longer. 

Do you think you have Pulmonary Hypertension? Call our Pulmonary Clinic at (978) 254-4983 to get scheduled as soon as possible. Click here to Contact Us. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call 911.

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