Pulmonary hypertension is an increase in blood pressure caused by blockages in the arteries in the lungs and along the right side of the heart. As the blood pressure rises in the lungs, it puts stress on the right side of the heart, forcing it to pump with a much stronger beat. If this continues for an extended period of time, the heart muscle can weaken, and may eventually start to fail. Pulmonary hypertension is extremely serious and can cause irreparable damage to the arteries and capillaries that are located within the lungs. With the right type of treatment, the symptoms of pulmonary hypertension can be controlled and the patient can live a normal life.
The symptom that is most commonly noted in cases of pulmonary hypertension is shortness of breath. Patients will also experience varying degrees of fatigue, dizziness, chest pains, and a bluish tint to the extremities. Heart palpitations and an irregular heartbeat are also common. Because of the difficulty pumping blood to the extremities, fluid may begin to accumulate in the extremities. Also known as edema, this type of swelling can also make it harder on the heart and will often cause the fingers and toes to turn blue and become cold. Without proper circulation, the tissues may begin to die causing gangrene and other conditions that affect the skin and muscle tone.
Pulmonary hypertension can be a hereditary health condition. Individuals can prevent it from becoming a problem by avoiding many of the most common causes. Avoiding cigarettes, birth control pills, and high levels of stress can help keep the lungs and heart healthy. Exercising helps to condition the lungs, keeping them strong and making them resistant to many forms of pulmonary disease. It also helps if a person eats a diet devoid of chemicals, but rich in nutrients and fiber. Because the lungs work to repair themselves while a person is resting, getting sufficient amounts of sleep is beneficial at helping to prevent many types of lung disease.
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