Among different types of hypertension, there is one type that occurs rather seldom. We mean primary pulmonary hypertension. It spreads its effect on pulmonary arteries and capillaries. As the pressure is increasing, it makes the heart work harder to deliver blood to the lungs by blood vessels. The result of this deviation can lead to heart failure or even death, as the heart is getting weak. Another problem with the diseases is that there is no universal cure for it. The only way to help the patient is to relieve symptoms and make life easier.
Do not ignore the following symptoms!
As it is known, the main problem of hypertension is the absence of any symptoms at the beginning. Then they may become noticeable, and sometimes it is too late to help the patient. In the case of pulmonary arterial hypertension, it is important to pay attention to the following signals:
- A short of breath.
- Pressure in the chest and pains in it.
- Irregular pulse and heartbeat.
- Swelling of different parts of the body including ankles and legs.
- Vertigo and the state of extreme fatigue.
It is especially important to keep in mind that breathing problems can appear when you do sports or exercise. Even after a piece of training, you can feel difficulties in breathing. It is the first sign, that pulmonary arterial hypertension is eventually developing.
What are the roots of the problem?
The problem can appear when arteries and capillaries become narrower or there are some damages in them. It becomes difficult for them to deliver blood from the heart to the lungs. It can happen because of several conditions, but the real root of pulmonary arterial hypertension remains still unknown. The doctors report that almost 20% of cases are connected with heredity. It can be connected with genetic mutations and these damaged parts can be inherited through the generations.
Besides, some other conditions can be the reason of PAH development:
- Liver diseases that are chronic in most cases.
- Heart disease.
- Tissue disorders.
- Different infections.
- The result of incorrect medication.
Sometimes these conditions have no effects on the development of the problem. In this case, doctors claim that the deviation is called idiopathic PAH.
The effective ways to diagnose the problem of PAH
If you have a suspicion that you have PAH, you need to consult a doctor as soon as possible. The doctor must conduct several tests to prove that the problem exists. These tests may include electrocardiogram, echocardiogram, chest X-ray, CT or MRI scan, pulmonary function tests and some others. These tests are aimed to find the root of the problem. ECG is aimed to find any changes in the rhythms of the heart. X-ray often observes arteries and the lower right chamber. It is done to clear up if these parts are subjected to enlargement.
All these tests will make a full picture of potential conditions that can affect the development of the disease. This will help the doctor to find the exact problem and work out the ways to solve the problem.
3 ways to help a patient with PAH
As has been mentioned there is no universal treatment for the diseases, but there are some ways to ease the symptoms. With the help of an efficient doctor, patients can live longer lives and the risks of complications are decreasing.
The first way to ease the problem is medications. Doctors usually prescribe the following medications:
- It is necessary to widen blood vessels.
- Different kinds of stimulators for the same reason as prostacyclin.
- Endothelin receptor antagonists. They are aimed to block the extreme activity of endothelin.
- Medications that prevent the appearance of blood clots.
The second way to struggle with the problem is surgery. Everything depends on the condition of the problem. In some cases, surgery is the only way out. The operation is aimed to relieve pressure on the right side of the heart. It becomes easier for the heart to circulate blood in the body and deliver it to the lungs. If the problem is serious, and the patient has a risk of death, lung transplantation may be needed. Even heart transplantation can take place if the doctor considers the case as severe.
The final way to overcome the difficulties is to change the way of life. Almost any illness or deviation in the body is connected with an improper way of life people lead. One of the key ways to change it is to keep to a diet. Doing regular exercises and losing weight are also among popular ways to be in good shape and avoid chronic diseases. Alcohol and smoking addiction also produce negative effects on health.
How many types of pulmonary arterial hypertension exist?
If we look at the article published by the World Health Organization, we can define four stages of PAH.
- Stage 1. A patient doesn’t feel any symptoms and leads a typical way of life. There are any noticeable symptoms.
- Stage 2. In this case, a patient feels a little uncomfortable during periods of physical activity. In the state of rest, the symptoms are not noticeable.
- Stage 3. The symptoms appear when a person has even a slight or ordinary activity. But when he is resting, the symptoms are disappearing.
- Stage 4. In this case, any type of activity is a challenge for a person. He feels uncomfortable even when he doesn’t do any exercises.
New approaches to ease pulmonary arterial hypertension
Recently, the American College of Chest Physicians published a guideline about how to struggle with the problem, including the latest scientific achievements. They pay attention to the people who at risk of PAH development. These patients must be examined by the doctors regularly. It is recommended to start treatment in any situation, even if a patient has the severest symptoms.
Women who are at risk of PAH development should avoid pregnancy. In the case of being pregnant women must get additional medical assistance from the doctors who specialize in pulmonary hypertension treatment. Any surgeries are also dangerous for people with this problem. It is not recommended for the people suffering from PAH travel by planes, as it can cause complications.
Though the problem remains unsolved, it is possible to control the symptoms and ease them. The only thing that patients can do in this case, is to follow doctors’ advice and take care of themselves. Regular exercises and the right food can prevent the problem. Bad habits also increase the risks of PAH development. Negative effects produced by elements in cigarettes and alcohol can be the cause of several other illnesses, and pulmonary arterial hypertension is not an exclusion.
In any case, if you have a suspicion of hypertension, it is better not to delay your visit to the doctor. After a careful examination, the doctor can start treatment with all the necessary medications and surgery if it is the only way to cope with the problem. You can’t win the health back, but you can live with it.