Pulmonary hypertension is high blood pressure that impacts the arteries within your lungs as well as the right region of your heart. Pulmonary hypertension worsens over time, and if left untreated, the condition can become life-threatening. As a result of pulmonary arterial hypertension, the blood vessels within your lungs become blocked or constricted. Because of pulmonary hypertension, there's a restricted flow of blood in your lungs. This restricted blood flow increases blood pressure within the arteries of your lungs.

What are the signs of pulmonary hypertension?

Because the symptoms of pulmonary hypertension occur over time, you may not even be aware that you have the condition. Over time pulmonary hypertension worsens as the disease progresses.

Signs of pulmonary hypertension include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Lethargy
  • Fainting
  • Chest discomfort
  • Heart palpitations
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Cyanosis (blue tinge in skin or lips)
  • Lack of appetite

What are some of the reasons for pulmonary hypertension?

Pulmonary hypertension could occur as a result of congenital heart disease, genetic mutations, medication, autoimmune disorders or valve diseases.

What does the diagnosis of pulmonary hypertension involve?

Because the symptoms of pulmonary hypertension take a long time to occur, the condition is often mistaken for asthma or other lung-related illnesses. Although pulmonary hypertension is difficult to pick up during a routine physical exam, your cardiologist performs a series of diagnostic tests to confirm or rule out the condition.

Some of these diagnostic tests include:

  • Blood tests: A blood test picks up the cause of pulmonary hypertension.
  • Chest x-ray: A chest x-ray captures images of your lungs and heart and provides a closer view of your pulmonary arteries and right ventricle to detect pulmonary hypertension.
  • Electrocardiogram: An electrocardiogram indicates an abnormally sized right ventricle and shows signs of heart strain.
  • Echocardiogram: An echocardiogram reveals the health of your heart and its valves.
  • Right heart catheterisation: Dr Xana performs right heart catheterisation to check your heart pressure.

How does my cardiologist treat pulmonary hypertension?

Although there’s no particular cure for pulmonary hypertension, Dr Xana prescribes medication or performs surgery to resolve the condition.

  • Medication: Vasodilator medication helps open up constricted blood vessels to improve blood flow. Other prescription medication can lower pressure in your pulmonary arteries. Diuretics assist your kidneys in the removal of a surplus of fluid.
  • Surgery: When medication fails to work, your cardiologist performs surgery to relieve pressure within your heart.