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Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension – Causes and Diagnosis

Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension – Causes and Diagnosis

Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a disorder that is characterized by high blood pressure in the arteries of the lungs. It is a progressive condition that may worsen if the symptoms are not managed at the right time, and can even be life-threatening. Some of its symptoms are chest pain, breathlessness, and bouts of fainting. Here, we look at the common causes and diagnostic methods for the condition:

Causes of PAH
The exact causes of PAH are unknown, yet many researchers have derived some likely causes of the same. Here are a few of them:

  • High blood pressure in the lungs’ arteries is believed to be one of the causes of arterial hypertension. This pressure can arise from a hereditary heart disease, cirrhosis, or a chronic lung disease, among others.
  • The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) can put a lot of strain on the heart and affect the pulmonary blood vessels.
  • Blood clots that do not dissolve in the lungs can cause a condition known as chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH). These clots narrow the blood vessels in the lungs and even lead to the formation of scar tissues.

Diagnosis of PAH
Your doctor may ask you various questions in order to get to the root of the issue. Firstly, they will ascertain if you have shortness of breath. On doing this, they may inquire about your medical history. They might ask you the following questions:

  • Does anyone in your family has a lung or heart disease?
  • When did you start observing the symptoms?
  • How often do these symptoms occur?

The doctor might even recommend going for the following tests:

  • CT scan
    With the help of a computed tomography (CT) scan, the doctor would be able to get down to the root cause of the issue present in the lungs.
  • Testing through exercise
    The doctor might ask you to do some exercise, such as riding a stationary bike or running on a treadmill, as they monitor your heart function, oxygen levels, and other things.
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG)
    An ECG clearly shows whether or not the right portion of the heart is under strain, which is an evident sign of pulmonary arterial hypertension.
  • Chest X-Ray
    A chest X-ray shows if your heart or arteries are enlarged, which might also signal towards a serious heart or lung condition.

Though pulmonary arterial hypertension is a critical illness, it can be managed with a healthy and active lifestyle. For instance, you can go out for regular exercising or walks, which will help you breathe better. You should also combine exercise with a healthy diet, which includes lots of fruits, whole grains, and vegetables.

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