What is severe pulmonary hypertension? This question may have been bothering you as you ponder the symptoms of this medical condition. Pulmonary hypertension is a disease which causes heart attack or heart failure; the condition is very dangerous because if left untreated, it can lead to pulmonary embolism, heart blockage or stroke.
The most common cause of pulmonary hypertension is left ventricular dysfunction, which is defined as a major causal factor for the development of acute pulmonary hypertension. As a result, it impairs the ventilatory function of the heart by increasing the pulmonary pressures in lungs and thereby causing an increase in blood pressure. Generally, when there is too much fluid accumulation in the left ventricular myocardium, it presses on the left atrial pressure and similarly, left atrial pressure is also forced on pulmonary arteries. If the disease is not appropriately controlled and cured, it may lead to serious complications like cardio-respiratory compromise or even sudden death.
This type of disease is very much related with left upper airway pressure or LVH; hence, it is termed “left upper airway hypertension”. This is a situation when the amount of arterial blood is insufficient to supply the amount of that needed by the lungs. This is the major reason behind why persons having chronic lung infections, tuberculosis, or asthma are more likely to develop pulmonary hypertension. So what is severe pulmonary hypertension?
The symptoms of severe pulmonary artery hypertension include cough, breathlessness, rapid breathing, wheezing, breathless sleep, increased chest pain, swelling in the lungs, pallor and fatigue. Blood test results may reveal normal results but these might vary from one patient to another. However, apart from clinical manifestations, physical examination can help in identifying whether the patient has pulmonary hypertension or not. Chest x-ray, computerized tomography (CT) scan, spirometry, blood pressure measurement and spirometry are some of the several diagnostic tools for assessing the severity of the problem. Presence of swollen ankles, legs, fingers, toes and hands may indicate the presence of severe pulmonary embolism.
Systolic and diastolic blood pressures are often high when one suffers from severe pulmonary artery hypertension, which leads to cardioembolic complications. Cardiac index is another way of assessing the disease. Presence of low levels of high density lipoproteins in the body may indicate the likelihood of developing cardioembolic complications. Elevated triglycerides or high levels of low density lipids may also suggest the presence of this disease. Low density lipoprotein level (LDL) may be high especially in patients with severe pulmonary artery hypertension.
Treatment of severe pulmonary artery hypertension is aimed at reducing the blood pressure and other symptoms such as breathlessness, cough, rapid or irregular heartbeat, fainting, vision loss and numbness in extremities. Treatment options can be given according to the severity of the disease. These include medication, surgical, and breathing assistance devices. Blood thinners and balloon catheters are commonly used in severe pulmonary artery disease.
Medications and surgical interventions are generally performed on patients suspected of having severe pulmonary hypertension. There are two categories of medicines used for this purpose, namely antihypertensive and vasodilative medicines. Since this condition may lead to irreversible damage in the arteries, it is very important that the treatment is given carefully so as to avoid other complications. It is very important that the patient suffering from severe pulmonary embolism should not take a rest after the treatment has been given. Regular monitoring and other care should be given in order to prevent recurrence of this condition.
There are some other conditions which may also be caused due to severe pulmonary artery disease and these include tuberculosis, meningitis, pneumonia, bone marrow insufficiency, and pulmonary embolism. In such conditions, doctors use different medications and surgical techniques. The main objective of such treatments is to reduce morbidity and mortality and also to improve the quality of life. Severe pulmonary hypertension is an ailment that can be controlled if timely intervention is taken in time.