The Secondary Pulmonary Hypertension

Secondary pulmonary hypertension is a well know lung disorder. It usually results from some other previously existing diseases from in the lungs or some other organs.

In simple terms, it happens when there is an increase in the blood pressure in the lungs due to other underlying medical problems.
Here are some well known facts about secondary pulmonary hypertension:
  • When a person has high blood pressure over a long a period of time then it is called hypertension.
  • Pulmonary is the name given to a group of arteries and venous system which carry blood from the lungs to the heart and back. Therefore, the term pulmonary hypertension means high pressure of blood in the pulmonary vessels.
  • When the pressure of the blood increases in the pulmonary arteries, it causes the right side of the heart to pump more blood into the lungs, which puts a strain on the right side of the heart and causes the right side to enlarge.
While the causes of primary pulmonary hypertension are not as well known, generally, the following can cause this type of hypertension:

    - Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

    - Interstitial lung disease

    - Congenital heart disease

    - Scleroderma

    - Pulmonary embolism

    - Valvular heart disease

    - Cardiomyopathy

    - Congestive heart disease

    - Cardiomyopathy

    - Congestive heart failure left sided

    - Smoking

Besides these causes, there are some lesser known causes of secondary pulmonary hypertension such as prolonged use of some illicit medications. Some diseases like AIDS/HIV, hyperthyroidism and liver diseases can also be a cause of the secondary pulmonary hypertension.

The patient generally experiences a shortness of breath that is aggravated when the patient does some kind of activity.

Other signs of this disease include a chronic lethargy for no reason, fatigue, dizziness, and constant coughing. As the disease progresses, the right side of the heart starts failing due to the extra load. This causes the patient to become increasingly short on breath. Moreover, as it gets more and more difficult for the heart to pump the blood forward, there is an increased fluid retention and swelling on the legs. Angina and chest pain are also some of the well known symptoms of the problem.

Now days, with the new advancements in the field of medicine, there are a lot of ways to diagnose this condition.

The first and foremost sign of this disease is the presence of any kind of underlying condition. If the doctor is not able to find any such underlying disorder, then it is known as primary pulmonary hypertension. The presence of some previously existing disease generally leads to the diagnosis of secondary pulmonary hypertension if all the classic symptoms are observed.

Tests like ECG or Electrocardiography, Echocardiography, Chest X-ray, Pulmonary ventilation or perfusion scans and pulmonary function tests are used to confirm this disease.

Generally, as part of the treatments the patient will be asked to quit smoking if that is what has caused the problem in the first place.

Medications like calcium and channel blockers are generally prescribed. If the oxygen levels fall exceedingly low, then oxygen therapy is also given. When this hypertension does not respond to the conventional medications, then a lung transplant may be opted for.

Despite all the medical advancements in the field, today there are still no confirmed cures for this condition.


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