Pulmonary hypertension is a serious form of high blood pressure that impacts the arteries in the lungs and the right side of the heart. Pulmonary hypertension begins when the small arteries in the lungs become narrow, making it difficult for the blood to flow through the lungs and increasing blood pressure. The increased pressure makes the right side of the heart work harder to pump blood to the lungs. Eventually, this stress on the heart can lead to heart disease and heart failure.
There are several types of pulmonary hypertension, and it is important to carefully identify the variety in order to prescribe the best treatment plan.
What causes Pulmonary Hypertension?
Pulmonary hypertension is called idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension in cases where a cause is unknown. The accurate diagnosis, evaluation and treatment of pulmonary hypertension can be difficult to determine. Some causes of pulmonary hypertension may include:
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- Autoimmune diseases (scleroderma and rheumatoid arthritis)
- Birth defects of the heart
- Blood clots in the lung
- Congestive heart failure
- Heart valve disease
- HIV infection
- Low oxygen levels in the blood
- Pulmonary fibrosis
- Sleep disorders such as sleep apnea