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WHAT IS PH?

 

Pulmonary Hypertension is a rare lung disorder in which there is narrowing of the lung blood vessels resulting in high lung blood pressures.

 

The consequence of this raised pressure is an increased load on the heart which must pump blood through the narrowed vessels.

 

Some common Symptoms

  • Shortness of Breath
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness especially on climbing stairs or standing up
  • Fainting (Syncope) weakness upon physical exertion
  • Chest pain especially during physical activity
  • Palpitations
  • Swollen legs and ankles
  • Cough

 

People with pulmonary hypertension may experience some or all of these symptoms which will vary in intensity depending on the severity of their condition.

 

Who gets pulmonary Hypertension?

New born babies, children, and adults of either sex can develop pulmonary hypertension but it is much more common in females. It may be Idiopathic (no cause found), familial or associated with a number of other medical conditions.

 

What are the different types of Pulmonary Hypertension?

At the world meeting in 2003 Pulmonary hypertension was classified according to underlying cause and predominant site of obstruction to the lung blood vessels.

 

  1. Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (ie in the small pulmonary arteries)
    1. Idiopathic Pulmonary Hypertension ie no known cause
    2. Familial ie there is a family history of pulmonary hypertension and that it is likely to be genetically inherited
    3. Secondary to Collagen Vascular disease such as Scleroderma, CREST syndrome or systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
    4. Secondary to intracardiac abnormalities (?hole in the heart?)
    5. Secondary to underlying liver disease such as cirrhosis
    6. Secondary to HIV infection
    7. Secondary to Drugs and such as appetite suppressants, cocaine and amphetamines
  2. Pulmonary Venous Hypertension ? (ie in the small veins of the lung or left side of the heart)
    1. Left sided heart disease
    2. Pulmonary Veno-Occlusive disease
  3. Pulmonary Hypertension associated with disorder of the respiratory system and or Hypoxaemia ie where there is a low level of oxygen in the lungs. This can occur at high altitude or at sea level in association with various lung diseases such as Chronic Obstructive lung disease, Interstitial lung disease or where there is poor control of breathing.
  4. Pulmonary Hypertension due to Chronic Thrombotic and or Embolic Disease ie where there is obstruction to the major lung blood vessels by blood clot.

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