Pulmonary hypertension is a medical condition wherein there is an excessive accumulation of fluid in the lungs. This fluid, usually caused by left-sided congestive heart failure, stimulates the heart and increases the pumping action of the heart muscles. Left-sided cardiac failure can occur in those with longstanding high blood pressure or acute coronary artery disorder. Low blood oxygen levels or lung diseases can also result to pulmonary hypertension.
A thorough examination is needed for the diagnosis of this condition and for the appropriate treatment. Appropriate treatment should be done in order to reduce the symptoms of pulmonary hypertension and to prevent further damage to the heart. Symptoms may include cough, wheezing, shortness of breath during routine physical activity, increased heart rate, fatigue and lightheadedness. These symptoms may vary in intensity from person to person, depending on the severity of the disease and the specific cause of it.
In the absence of symptoms, the doctor might also consider other factors like medication side effects, lifestyle and physical activity habits, sleep apnea, allergies, depression, emotional trauma, poor judgment, alcohol abuse, occupational health and family history of asthma and COPD before arriving at a final diagnosis and treatment. The appropriate treatment may depend on the cause of pulmonary hypertension. Treatment options include medication, alternative therapy or surgery.
Medications are commonly used for treating pulmonary conditions. These medications are used to control the inflammation and swelling of the lining of the pulmonary arteries. It is also used to normalize the functions of the heart and to protect the patient from sudden cardiac arrest. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, known as NSAIDs, such as aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen sodium, are the most commonly used medications for these conditions. These medications reduce the pain, swelling and inflammation of the airways and reduce the frequency of heart failure or death in patients with acute coronary syndromes and other cardiovascular problems.
Another common medication used for treating pulmonary hypertension is an inhaled corticosteroid. Corticosteroids work by blocking the production of “feel-good” chemicals called neurotransmitters in the brain. The breathing rate and heart rate of a patient with this condition are then slowed down because the lungs become less dependent on oxygen. This medication is effective in preventing exacerbations of existing symptoms of pulmonary hypertension, but it has no effect on reversing current conditions.
Besides these two main medications, more than 80 different drugs are available to treat pulmonary hypertension and many of them can help prevent blood clots from forming in the lungs. The most popular of these drugs are anti-platelet drugs. Some of these drugs, known as beta-blockers, help reduce the formation and enlargement of blood clots that can lead to heart attacks and strokes. Doctors may also prescribe other medicines, such as nitroglycerine and vasodilators, to help strengthen the walls of blood vessels.
If you suffer from pulmonary hypertension and have been following your doctor’s treatment plan for symptoms, you may be wondering what you need to do to avoid long term complications. You should know that medications alone are not enough to cure your condition. You should also make sure to get plenty of rest and avoid exposing your body to anything that could irritate your condition, such as smoking. Although some medications can mask the symptoms of pulmonary hypertension, it is important to remember that they cannot help correct the underlying cause.
The treatments recommended by your doctor should help you get control of your condition and improve your quality of life. Remember that these medications can be lifesaving, but they are not a cure. Do not allow your symptoms to keep you from getting the rest and energy you need. Focus on taking care of yourself by eating healthy foods, exercising regularly and taking short walks each day. Remember that fainting due to a lack of oxygen in your blood is very serious, and can be potentially deadly if not treated properly.