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Causes of Pulmonary Hypertension

Pulmonary hypertension and its causes
Pulmonary hypertension is a disorder of the blood vessels of the lungs.

In this condition, the pressure in the pulmonary artery (the blood vessel that leads from the heart to the lungs) rises to above-normal levels and possibly become life threatening. Symptoms may include:

  • shortness of breath with little or no exertion
  • fatigue
  • chest pain
  • swelling

Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is a broad term that applies to any condition that elevates the lung artery pressure. Some common causes of PH include heart disease or breathing disorders such as emphysema, sleep apnea, or bronchitis.

An uncommon illness, which can result in PH, is Pulmonary Artery Hypertension (PAH). PAH is sometimes associated with inflammatory or collagen vascular diseases such as scleroderma, rheumatoid arthritis, or systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Congenital heart diseases, pulmonary thromboembolism (blood clots in the pulmonary artery), HIV infection, liver disease, and diet drugs like fenfluramine and dexfenfluramine can also result in PAH.

When PAH is present but no cause is identified, the term idiopathic PAH is used.

Identification of PAH is important as treatments are available.

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