Let’s look at the other Lung disease that affects the blood vessels In my last article we looked at pulmonary embolism(https://healthandwellnessforboomers.com/lung-disease-affecting-the-blood-vessel-maintaining-good-health )and in this post, we take a look at pulmonary hypertension
What is pulmonary hypertension?
Pulmonary hypertension (PHT) is high blood pressure in the heart-to-lung system that delivers fresh (oxygenated) blood to the heart while returning used(oxygen-depleted) blood back to the lungs.
Pulmonary blood pressure reflects the pressure the heart exerts to pump blood from the heart through the arteries of the lungs. In other words, it focuses on the pressure of the blood flow in your lungs.
Systemic high blood pressure can cause the heart to work harder to deliver blood to the body, pulmonary hypertension can occur when the arteries in the lungs narrow and thicken, slowing the flow of blood through the pulmonary arteries to the lungs.
As a result, the pressure in your arteries rises as your heart works harder to try to force the blood through.
Heart failure occurs when the heart becomes too weak to pump enough blood to the lungs.
The lungs and heart work together to carry oxygen throughout the body. The heart is a
muscle made up of two halves that pumps the blood. Deoxygenated ( oxygen-depleted blood)returns from the rest of the body, it first goes into the right side of the heart, which pumps it into the lungs.
The lungs take carbon dioxide from the blood which the body releases as you exhale and replace it with oxygen that you have inhaled.
After the blood picks up the oxygen, it is considered “oxygenated” again and is ready to go to other areas of the body.
The blood then travels from the lungs into the left side of the heart.
The left side of the heart then pumps the blood to the rest of the body. This process
starts over again with each heartbeat.
The right side of the heart is smaller and weaker than the left side because it only pumps blood through the lungs which are normally a low-pressure system.
The left side of the heart is more muscular as it has to pump blood throughout the rest of the body, against gravity and up to your head and all the way to your toes and back again
Common diagnostic tests include echocardiography, chest X-ray, electrocardiogram (EKG), and catheterization of the right heart.
Discovering the underlying cause may involve a chest CT scan, chest MRI, lung function tests, the polysomnogram (PSG), lung ventilation/perfusion scan, and blood tests
Symptoms of pulmonary hypertension
Early symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath during routine activity
- Chest pain
- Racing heartbeat
- Pain in the upper right side of the abdomen
- Decreased appetite
Later symptoms include:
- Feeling light-headed, especially during physical activity
- Swelling in the ankles or legs
- Bluish lips or skin
These five groups that fall under pulmonary hypertension
Group 1 (PAH) pulmonary arterial hypertension is caused by drugs or toxins or by conditions such as connective tissue disease, HIV infection, liver disease, congenital heart disease .sickle disease, schistosomiasis ( infestation of the liver by parasites), or by conditions that affect the veins and small blood vessels of the lungs PAH can also be inherited
Group 2 pulmonary hypertension is associated with heart disease (the left side) mitral valve disease or long-term high blood pressure this is the most cause of pulmonary hypertension.
Group 3 Pulmonary hypertension is related to lung problems like COPD and interstitial lung disease( Rheumatoid arthritis,
Mixed connective tissue disease Sjogren’s syndrome( the immune system attacks its own healthy cells)as well as sleep apnea and other sleep breathing disorders.
Group 4 is caused by blood clots in the lungs or general clotting disorders.
Group 5 is triggered by other disorders such as disease or conditions of the blood such as polycythemia ( an abnormally increased concentration of hemoglobin in the blood caused by either a reduction of plasma volume or an increase in red blood cells number,) metabolic disorders such as thyroid and glycogen storage disease; and other conditions such as kidney disease and tumors that press on the pulmonary arteries.
There is no known cure for pulmonary hypertension, but one with the disease can still live an active and fulfilling life by following the doctors advice and by working with your doctor the symptoms can be managed.
Be careful about taking over-the-counter medication it would be wise to consult with the doctor as some of these medications can worsen the symptoms.
Some life style changes are suggested to help in the control of the symptoms
No smoking if addicted to cigarettes the doctor will be able to help as there are programs and products to help break the addiction.
Eat healthily have a variety of fruits, vegetables, lean meat, poultry, fish (salmon, sardines, or fatty fish very rich in omega 3) low fat or fat-free milk ( a low fat, sodium, cholesterol, and sugar diet) (Dash Diet Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension,)
Maintain a healthy weight
Maintain a healthy weight be on the lookout for rapid weight gains. A rapid weight gain could be a sign of worsening of the condition
incorporate some easy exercise in your daily lifestyle. Talk to your doctor about the level of exercise that should be done. Avoid straining or lifting heavy objects and rest when needed
.Avoid sitting in a hot tub or sauna or taking long baths, which will lower your blood pressure
If traveling by air be very cautious extra oxygen may be needed because of the high altitude
Get support for the anxiety and stress of living with pulmonary hypertension. Talk with your healthcare team, or ask for a referral to a counselor. A support group for people living with pulmonary hypertension can be invaluable in learning how to cope with the illness.
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