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Pulmonary Hypertension: What are the treatment options?

Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH) or Primary Pulmonary Hypertension is an unusual form of high blood pressure. This disease directly affects the capillaries and arteries. In this condition, the blood vessels carry blood from your right ventricle into your lungs. This process gradually increases the pressure in the pulmonary arteries and initiates the production of small blood vessels. The heart needs to work harder for pumping blood into the lungs. This condition, over some time, weakens the heart muscles, leading to heart failure or even death. There is no cure so far for this disease. However, a couple of pulmonary hypertension treatment options can help in controlling symptoms of PAH and eventually lowering your chances of encountering complications. 

Pulmonary Hypertension Overview

Living with pulmonary hypertension is challenging, but timely identification of symptoms and treatment can prevent severe consequences. Here are some common symptoms of PAH:

  •   Fatigue
  •   Difficulty in breathing both during exercising and resting
  •   Dizziness
  •   Chest Pressure
  •   Rapid Pulse Rate
  •   Fainting
  •   Chest Pain
  •   Palpitations in Heart
  •   Swelling in legs and ankle
  •   Blue tint on your skin or lips
  •   Swelling plus fluid accumulation in the abdomen which happens in the advanced stage of PAH.

Treatment Options Available

Your doctor will prescribe you some medical tests to get the exact picture of PAH. You see, this disease is hard to identify in initial stages. The symptoms become evident in the advanced stage of the disease. The symptoms of PAH are quite similar to lung and heart conditions. PAH can be classified in 4 different stages; class 1, class 2, class 3, and class 4. The doctor shall also consider your past family and medical history in this analysis. Here are some tests prescribed by the doctors:

  •   Echocardiogram – To check the functioning and size of the right ventricle
  •   Electrocardiogram – Done to identify abnormal heart rhythms
  •   X-Ray – To identify enlargement of the right ventricle or pulmonary arteries
  •   Genetic Tests – The doctor can inquire about the different health conditions of your family members. In case the results are positive, your doctor might recommend screening for other family members as well.
  • Other tests – Other tests include blood tests, pulmonary function test, CT scan, MRI, V/Q scan, polysomnogram, and open-lung biopsy. 

Treatment Options

Various treatment options can allow you to reduce the risk of severe complications. Here are some possible pulmonary hypertension treatment options:

    • Medications – Your doctor might prescribe you certain medicines that can help in dilating your blood vessels, narrowing them, and preventing any possible formation of blood clots. You might need to undergo prolonged treatment to curb this medical condition. 
    • Surgery – Considering the seriousness of your condition, your doctor can go for atrial septostomy. This surgery is performed to reduce the excess pressure on your right ventricle or lung. A lung or heart transplant is also a possible pulmonary hypertension treatment for this condition. In special cases, both the lungs are replaced by the lungs of the donor.

 

  • Lifestyle changes – Some significant lifestyle changes can also improve your medical condition of PAH. With the right exercise, diet, and healthy habits, you can subsequently reduce your risk of further complications. 

 

Tips to Manage PAH

Do you know that you can lead a healthy and active life with PAH? Yes, you can help with some lifestyle modifications. Here are some healthy tips for managing the PAH condition:

 

  •   Including healthy food items in your regular meals
  •   Regular exercising
  •   Loose excess weight by daily yoga and exercises
  •   Immediately quit tobacco and smoking
  •   Maintain a healthy weight
  •   Maintain a positive outlook in life
  •   Avoid stressful job profiles
  •   Avoid activities that can lead to the high heartbeat
  •   Make sure you rest correctly after every workout
  •   Avoid consumption of birth control pills and pregnancy
  •   Avoid going to top altitude places
  •   Avoid taking hot baths as they can reduce your blood pressure levels
  •   Stay active and keep in touch with your doctor regarding medications

Lifestyle Changes and Precautions

You can take control of your condition by making healthy choices and by sticking to your new routine. Here are some precautionary measures that can make your everyday life easy:

  •   Control salt and sodium
  •   Avoid stimulants like alcohol and caffeine
  •   Limit fluids intake
  •   Increase your iron intake
  •   Relieve nausea by consuming smaller sized meals
  •   Increase garlic consumption to ease the surging blood pressure levels
  •   Control vitamin K 

Pulmonary hypertension is a disease that can be controlled with proper medication and good dietary intake. It is crucial to understand how your body reacts to various food items. Stay in touch with your doctor. Keep your family and friends aware of your condition. Stay active and stay healthy.