Causes and Symptoms of Pulmonary Hypertension
Pulmonary hypertension may be brought on by diseases of the lungs, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, emphysema and pulmonary fibrosis. Other causes are left-sided heart failure, congenital heart disease, HIV/AIDS, substance abuse, blood clots in the lungs, sleep disorders, massive lung tissue loss from surgery or trauma, connective tissue disorders such as scleroderma and chronic liver disease.
For some people, pulmonary hypertension may have no identifiable cause. This condition, called idiopathic pulmonary hypertension, affects twice more women than men. It is suspected to have a genetic link.
Until the pulmonary hypertension has advanced — which can often take years — you may not be aware of any symptoms. And then you may experience breathlessness, fatigue, dizziness, chest pain, swelling in the lower limbs and heart palpitations.
Your doctor may first suspect pulmonary hypertension following a physical examination. He may hear heart sounds indicative of a strained right ventricle. Pulmonary hypertension and coronary artery disease (if it has already set in as a complication) can later be verified by laboratory tests such as chest x-rays, echocardiograms, magnetic resonance imaging, biopsy, lung function tests and cardiac catherization.