Pulmonary Hypertension Symptoms

  • Symptoms

    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.

  • Risk Factors

    Certain conditions increase your risk for developing pulmonary hypertension.Table 01 These conditions include:

    • emphysema
    • 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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