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What Are the Symptoms of Pulmonary Hypertension?

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  • What Is Pulmonary Hypertension?

    What Is Pulmonary Hypertension?

    Pulmonary hypertension (PH) occurs when the arteries that carry blood from the heart to the lungs become narrowed or constricted. As a result, the right side of the heart has to work harder than usual. This raises the blood pressure on the heart’s right side, which pumps blood to the lungs so that it can become oxygenated.

    Over time, the right side of the heart can grow weak. Heart failure may result if PH isn’t managed effectively.

  • Types of Pulmonary Hypertension

    Types of Pulmonary Hypertension

    There are five groups of pulmonary hypertension. The groups are based on conditions that cause PH or accompany the condition.


    Group 1 PH is also known as pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). This group includes:

    • PAH with an unknown cause
    • PAH resulting from liver disease, connective tissue disease, and other conditions

    The other groups include:

    • PH that coincides with left heart disease
    • PH from breathing problems such as COPD
    • PH caused by blood clots in the lungs
  • Effects of Pulmonary Hypertension

    Effects of Pulmonary Hypertension

    When PH is present, blood can back up into the veins that carry it to the heart’s right side. Fluid buildup in different parts of the body can also result.

    If blood has difficulty making it through the lungs, oxygen levels in the blood can become dangerously low. This could limit the amount of oxygen that the brain and other organs receive.

  • Early Signs of Pulmonary Hypertension

    Early Signs of Pulmonary Hypertension

    Early on, you may not notice any PH symptoms. However, one of the first signs many PH patients experience is shortness of breath during everyday activities such as walking up stairs or doing simple exercises.

    Pay attention to how you feel after climbing a flight of stairs or two. If you’re out of breath or your heart is pounding, tell a doctor about your symptoms.


  • Fatigue and Dizziness

    Fatigue and Dizziness

    Two other common signs of pulmonary hypertension are fatigue and dizziness, or feelings of lightheadedness. These problems are caused by a decrease in blood circulating in the brain and throughout the body. You may feel faint after physical activity or simply rising from a chair.

    The symptoms also tend to develop gradually, so you may not even notice the changes until they interfere with your daily activities.

  • Heart Palpitations and Pain

    Heart Palpitations and Pain

    PH can also lead to chest pain and a racing heart. However, heart palpitations could be signs of other cardiovascular problems, not just PH. The same is true for chest pain, which can be a symptom of a heart attack.

    Because PH affects the right side of the heart and lungs, you may experience pain on the upper right side of your abdomen. All of these signs warrant a visit to the doctor.

  • Other Troublesome Signs

    Other Troublesome Signs

    Because PH affects the circulation of blood throughout the body, you may notice swelling in your ankles and feet. This is called edema. Fluid levels can increase around the feet when blood isn’t able to return to the heart and circulate efficiently.

    Swelling may develop in the abdomen in very serious cases. Poor circulation may result in a slight bluish tint to your skin and lips.

  • Diagnosing Pulmonary Hypertension

    Diagnosing Pulmonary Hypertension

    If you have symptoms of PH and you haven’t had them checked out, get to a doctor soon. A physician will listen to your heart for any unusual sounds that might suggest you have PH.

    Your doctor may also check your jugular vein for swelling, and your legs, ankles, and mid-section for signs of fluid retention. Blood tests, imaging, and walking endurance and heart function tests will help confirm whether you have PH.

  • Early Treatment Helps

    Early Treatment Helps

    While PH is a serious medical condition, it can be treated. The most effective treatment is that which begins as early as possible. That’s why it’s vital that you take your PH symptoms seriously.

    Treatment includes medications that may be swallowed or inhaled, as well as lifestyle modifications designed to help slow the progression of the disease. Informing your doctor of new symptoms is especially important, because no two PH patients experience the condition in the exact same way.