The earliest symptoms of pulmonary hypertension are usually fatigue and shortness of breath, especially after physical exertion. Many people with pulmonary hypertension mistakenly blame these early symptoms on aging or being “out of shape.” Other symptoms of pulmonary hypertension include:
- dizziness or fainting spells
- ankle or leg swelling
- bluish lips and skin
- chest pain (angina)
- heart palpitations
- racing pulse
- dry cough
- hoarseness when speaking
As the disorder progresses, the symptoms become more severe. People with pulmonary hypertension lack the energy to do everyday activities, and may experience symptoms even while resting. Eventually, patients with pulmonary hypertension may become completely bedridden.
Certain conditions increase your risk for developing pulmonary hypertension.Table 01 These conditions include:
- chronic bronchitis
- liver disease
- connective tissue disease
- sickle cell anemia ( a chronic disorder of the blood)
- HIV infection
- Raynaud’s disease (a condition in which blood vessels overreact to cold temperatures, turning the body’s extremities—mostly fingers and toes--blue when exposed to cold).
- sleep apnea
- congenital heart defects
- use of illicit drugs
Taking diet drugs, particularly for longer than three months, increases the risk for pulmonary hypertension. Research has shown that the incidence of pulmonary hypertension among users of appetite suppressants may be as high as 25 to 50 per million (compared to 1 to 2 per million for the general population).
Among children, primary pulmonary hypertension affects both genders equally; but after puberty, it is almost twice as common in women as in men. Age is also a factor: most people diagnosed with PPH are between the ages of 20 and 40. In about 6% to 10% of cases, PPH appears to be inherited.
Table 1. Risk Factors for Pulmonary Hypertension
For primary pulmonary hypertension (PPH) Being female Being between the ages of 20 and 40 Having a family history of PPH For secondary pulmonary hypertension (SPH) Emphysema and/or chronic bronchitis Liver disease Connective tissue disease HIV infection Sickle cell anemia Raynaud?s disease Sleep apnea Congenital heart defect Use of illicit drugs Use of appetite suppressants
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