What is Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension?
When the pressure on the right side of the heart is higher than the normal level, it is considered to be a state of hypertension. Pulmonary arterial hypertension occurs when the blood vessels in the lungs are corrupted and become thick and narrow. When the heart tries to pump blood through these thick and narrow blood vessels, the pressure on the right side of the heart increases. The pulmonary arterial hypertension can lead to an occurrence of many other things such as
- The backup of blood in the veins that are returning blood to the heart.
- An increased pressure on the right side of the heart, to pump against pushing blood through the lungs.
It is essential to treat this increased pressure on the right side of the heart as it can make the heart weak and increases the possibility of heart failure. It not only affects the right side of the heart but also to the brain as it affects the oxygen level of the body and results in the decreased level of oxygen to the brain. Pulmonary arterial hypertension is of three types, heritable pulmonary arterial hypertension, idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension and associated pulmonary arterial hypertension.
Persistent Newborn pulmonary Hypertension is a kind of Pulmonary arterial hypertension which affects the baby before the baby is born. It is a condition in which the circulatory system of the newborn baby is unable to adapt the breathing techniques outside the womb. When the babies are not born they do not use lungs to breathe instead, they get oxygen from umbilical cord and placenta from the mother.
Causes of Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension
Normally, it is difficult to determine the causes of this disease but many studies suggest that there are many factors that can lead to the development of pulmonary arterial hypertension. Some of the causes include
1. Connective tissue diseases
The disease like Scleroderma and lupus are said to be one of the causes of pulmonary arterial hypertension. Scleroderma is an autoimmune disease that affects the skin and changes the color of it. It can also affect other organs of the body such as blood vessels, muscles in addition to the skin. The development of this disease is due to the poor immune system and can lead to the poor blood flow, extreme tiredness, stiffness etc..
HIV is human deficiency virus that causes HIV infection and leads to AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). It is a condition in which the immune system fails to function properly and allows many life threatening health problems. According to many studies HIV is considered as one of the causes of pulmonary arterial hypertension.
Liver diseases are also known to be highly associated with pulmonary arterial hypertension. Liver disease is a condition in which a person experiences a damage to the liver. There are many liver diseases but cirrhosis is the most associated one. Cirrhosis is a condition in which the cells of the liver die and in place of these cells, fibrous tissues are formed.
4. Use of illicit drugs
Use of illicit drugs such as cocaine, methamphetamines are believed to be the reason for the development of pulmonary arterial hypertension.
Symptoms and signs of Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension
Some of the symptoms of pulmonary arterial hypertension include
- Shortness of breath
Usually, these symptoms are ignored by most of the people but when this disease progressive, the symptoms of this disease becomes more noticeable and people can experience extreme tiredness and loss of breath to such an extent that it might interfere in the daily activities.
Treatment of Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension
There are several types of treatments and medicines available to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension. These medications help to open the blood vessels in the lungs and reduce the strain on the heart that results in a improved blood flow through the lungs. There are many phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitor that is recommended by the doctors to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension. Tadalafil and Sildenafil are the most recommended phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitor and are considered as effective medicines to treat this health problem. Phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors enhance the effect of nitric oxide which increases the production of cGMP (Cyclic guanosine monophosphate) in the blood and cGMP causes vasorelaxation. Normally, the effect of cGMP is short lived as it is degraded by the phosphodiesterase type 5. But, medicines such as tadalafil and sildenafil inhibits this enzyme and increases the effect of cGMP.
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