What is it?
Pulmonary hypertension is high blood pressure in the arteries of the lungs. In pulmonary arterial hypertension, the pulmonary arteries constrict abnormally, forcing the heart to work harder and causing blood pressure within the lungs to rise.
Risks and symptoms
Pulmonary arterial hypertension worsens over time and can be life threatening if the pressure in the patient’s pulmonary arteries rises to dangerously high levels. Symptoms of pulmonary hypertension do not usually occur until the condition has progressed. The first symptom of pulmonary hypertension is usually shortness of breath with everyday activities, such as climbing stairs. Fatigue, dizziness, and fainting spells also can be symptoms. Swelling in the ankles, abdomen or legs; bluish lips and skin, and chest pain may occur as strain on the heart increases. Symptoms range in severity and a given patient may not have all of the symptoms.
There is no cure for pulmonary arterial hypertension, but there are several treatment options including medication and surgery.