Pulmonary Hypertension

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Pulmonary hypertension is a rare lung disorder in which the arteries that carry blood from the heart to the lungs become narrowed, making it difficult for blood to flow through the vessels. Dr. Edward Hill tells us more about this condition in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

The pulmonary artery is the main vessel that carries blood from the heart to the lungs. For a person at rest, blood pressure in a normal pulmonary artery is about 15 millimeters of mercury. In an individual with pulmonary hypertension, the average pressure in the pulmonary artery can be more than 25 millimeters of mercury.

This increase in pulmonary artery pressure occurs when the small arteries of the lungs become abnormally narrow. This condition can eventually lead to heart failure and death.

Initial symptoms may be minor and diagnosis may be delayed for several years until symptoms worsen. Typical symptoms may include:

Shortness of breath following exertion

Excessive fatigue

Dizziness and fainting

Ankle swelling

Bluish lips and skin

Chest pain

Appropriate diagnosis and analysis of the problem is necessary before starting any treatment. Treatment varies but generally includes taking medications; making lifestyle and dietary changes; having surgery, if necessary; and seeing your doctor regularly.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.