Educate Yourself About PAH (Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension)
Many people have heard about high blood pressure or hypertension. However, far less people have heard of pulmonary arterial hypertension. This is a specific subset of high blood pressure. Rather than being seen throughout the entire body, pulmonary hypertension occurs within the lungs. The capillaries and pulmonary arterioles become damaged, blocked or outright destroyed. In turn the blood doesn’t flow through the lungs like it should. This causes the heart to work much harder than it needs to. Finally, the heart fails. This type of cascading body failure is an example of how one small issue can damage an entire body. The good news is that identifying pulmonary arterial hypertension early can be identified quickly sometimes. It’s not curable, but treatment can lessen the severity of things. This is good because causes can range from mild to life threatening.
Symptoms of Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension
The downside is that symptoms are often very subtle to begin. People may feel them softly or not at all to start. Symptoms will get worse as the condition increases. Therefore, it’s crucial to seek a doctor as soon as symptoms manifest. This can give medical professionals the maximum amount of time to try and devise a treatment plan from an early point. Some of the symptoms that people should be looking out for include:
- Chest Pressure
- Chest Pain
- Shortness of Breath (While exercising or at rest)
- Fainting Spells
- Heart Palpitations or Racing Pulse
- Blue Colored Lips or Skin
- Swelling in Ankles, Abdomen or Legs
Causes of Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension
The causes of pulmonary arterial hypertension. The heart functions with two atria and two ventricles. The lungs oxygenate the blood pumped by the heart before it’s sent off to the body. The blocked blood flow from PAH causes problems in this transfer process.
There are multiple causes that can come into play, and these cause slightly different versions. Typically the causes come from issues with different parts of the heart. For example, heart disease can strike specifically the left side of the heart. Failure in the lower left chamber of the heart can cause PAH as well.
There are many other causes which come into play. There are many lung problems which can act as a cause. Emphysema and pulmonary fibrosis act as a cause. Other causes include sleep apnea and sleep disorders involving the lungs. Blood clots in the lungs are also dangerous.
The causes of pulmonary arterial hypertension are numerous. They can also include metabolic disorders, blood disorders, tumors adjacent to the pulmonary arteries, gene mutations, prescription or illegal drugs, tissue disorders, HIV infections, cirrhosis or congenital heart disease. The list of causes is seemingly endless.
Treatment of Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension
Treatment will almost always start with medication. There is a wide variety of medication that can be used. The reason it’s hard to point to a specific medication is because of the wide number of causes that are involved. Common drugs for PAH may find themselves released continuously. This is done through a pump. This attaches to the body and tiem releases medication into the body. There are several other medication which try to open up blood vessels in the lungs. Blood clot medication is also common. There are many others which may be in play depending on the person.
If medication doesn’t work, there’s really only two options surgically. There is a surgery called an atrial septostomy which can be helpful. In worst case situations a lung transplant might be an option, but it is often usually for younger people who have a specific case. Obviously a transplant is a dangerous and risky procedure, so it’s very much the last kind of treatment.
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