Pulmonary Hypertension Update: 2012

18 October 2012
Pulmonary Hypertension Update: 2012

While many people are familiar with traditional cardiac hypertension, primary pulmonary hypertension is often overlooked. It can be fatal when left untreated.

An intact circulatory system is important for adequate blood flow to all parts of the body. Primary pulmonary hypertension occurs when there is an increase in pressure within the pulmonary artery. Blood delivers oxygen and nutrients while also removing waste and carbon dioxide from the tissues. The pulmonary artery connects the heart to the lungs and allows the heart to pump blood into the lungs. The lungs will then oxygenate the blood while also removing excess carbon dioxide. In order to continue meeting the needs of the body, the heart will begin to work harder as resistance and pressure in the pulmonary artery rises.

Possible Causes

Primary pulmonary hypertension is a rare disorder. Because it has no known cause, this condition is often referred to as idiopathic pulmonary hypertension. The majority of PPH cases were found in women between the ages of twenty and forty. Even though it seems to favor this particular population, women and men of all ages can develop it. There are some ideas on what causes the increase in pressure. A number of drugs are thought to contribute to its development:
Fen Phen

These were all popular weight loss drugs which have been deemed dangerous by the FDA in the United States. Other causes of primary pulmonary hypertension include:

Microvascular changes in the blood vessels of the lungs
The narrowing of the artery connecting the heart and the lungs


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