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Pulmonary Hypertension Symptoms

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Pulmonary hypertension is high blood pressure in the vessels and arteries of the lungs. It is a disease that affects both the heart and the lungs and is progressive and chronic.

With pulmonary hypertension, blood flow meets resistance in the narrowed pulmonary arteries causing it to back up into the heart resulting in right heart strain. The persistent pressure on the heart can lead to right heart failure.

Pulmonary hypertension is considered a rare disease with fewer than 200,000 identified cases in the United States. However, it is often misdiagnosed or missed altogether, potentially impacting the number of identified cases.

Patients may have symptoms that are common to other diseases, such as shortness of breath with activity, loss of energy, chest pain or pressure, swollen ankles and legs, racing heartbeat or palpitations, dizziness and cough.

Pulmonary hypertension may not have an identifiable cause, or it may be inherited. There are also conditions associated with this disease, such as connective tissue and autoimmune disorders or drug abuse (cocaine or methamphetamine, for example).

Evidence supports early diagnosis and initiation of medical therapy as crucial to delaying the disease’s progression, improving functional status, and positively impacting a patient’s quality of life.

There are 14 medical therapies currently available, and several ongoing clinical trials focused on advanced treatment options and finding a cure. The key is an accurate, early diagnosis, making awareness and community outreach vital to both healthcare providers and patients.

It is strongly recommended that patients have access to pulmonary hypertension specialists working at an accredited pulmonary hypertension center of comprehensive care like the program at Ochsner Health. Our center has a team of providers and healthcare associates who use a multi-disciplinary, patient-centered approach to diagnosing, treating, and managing patients with this disease.

Learn more about pulmonary hypertension care at Ochsner.

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