7 Diseases That May Cause Pulmonary Hypertension


Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is a chronic lung disease where the blood pressure in the lungs is dangerously elevated. This leads to the right side of the heart having to work much harder to pump oxygenated blood back into the lungs and can lead to heart failure. In many cases of pulmonary hypertension, the disease has developed as a result of another serious health condition.

Doctors believe the following conditions can cause PH:

Lupus is an autoimmune disease that can attack any part of the body causing inflammation, including the lungs. While it hasn’t yet been established if lupus is a cause of pulmonary hypertension, the two diseases can coexist. Interestingly, although lupus tends to strike women of color more than white women, it is white women with lupus who are more likely to develop pulmonary hypertension.

Find out more about lupus and pulmonary hypertension.

Sarcoidosis can affect any organ but is more likely to affect the lungs and lymph nodes in the chest. The disease affects the immune system’s ability to deal with inflammation, instead of attacking the source of the inflammation. Some of the cells in the immune system in sarcoidosis patients actually form clumps called granulomas in the organs which affect the way the organ operates. If this happens in the lungs, it can lead to the development of pulmonary hypertension. (Source: National Institute of Health)

Find out more about sarcoidosis and pulmonary hypertension.

Hypoxia is a condition where the body has depleted levels of oxygen. The organs in the body are not able to function properly if they don’t receive enough oxygen and in the case of the lungs, this can lead to an elevated blood pressure level.

Hypoxia can be caused by various conditions, some of which can be quick like a heart attack or altitude sickness, and others can occur slowly over time by diseases such as anemia or other lung conditions. (Source: news-medical.net).

Find out more about hypoxia and pulmonary hypertension.

Sleep Apnea
Sleep Apnea is one of the most common causes of pulmonary hypertension. It’s a condition where a person will periodically stop breathing while they sleep often due to the airways being blocked. It’s known to contribute to cardiovascular and high blood pressure problems. People are often unaware they have sleep apnea and it is often down to a partner or family member to point out that they may have a problem. Sleep apnea is more common in people who are overweight. (Source: National Institute of Health)

Find out more about sleep apnea and pulmonary hypertension.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a lung disease where the air sacs at the ends of the alveoli (branches in the lungs) become damaged. This leads to less oxygen being delivered to the blood stream and less carbon dioxide being removed from the blood stream.

Often the COPD-related pulmonary hypertension is mild to moderate, but the combination of both COPD and pulmonary hypertension can lead to a worse prognosis for the patient.

Find out more about COPD and pulmonary hypertension.

Scleroderma is another autoimmune disease that can affect any part of the body. Scleroderma is a disease where a person produces too much collagen which causes thickening and scarring. When this occurs in the lungs, it can increase the blood pressure.

Although scleroderma is a rare disease, around 10 percent of patients go on to develop pulmonary hypertension as their disease progresses, usually after five to 10 years.

Find out more about scleroderma and pulmonary hypertension.

Liver Transplant
Patients who have undergone a liver transplant or are waiting for one are at an increased risk of developing pulmonary hypertension. Advanced liver disease can cause high blood pressure in the veins which lead to the liver which can set off the onset of pulmonary hypertension. This high blood pressure in the liver’s veins is not reversible once the patient has a liver transplant.

Find out more about liver transplants and pulmonary hypertension.

Pulmonary Hypertension News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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  1. Mary Legault says:

    I was diagnosed with Sarcoidosis at Mayo clinic in 1986. I have had severe shortness of breath for past 4 years with any exertion but especially walking. I was diagnosed with PH secondary to CHF after a heart cath in Aug 2014. Is this “secondary to” the same as may cause the PH? Will I ever know for sure if my PH is secondary to Sarcoid or caused by the Sarcoid? I was not aware of CHF until my heart cath in 2014. So, not only was I suprised about PH but doubly surprised with CHF!
    I recently found this site and I find it very informative, Thank you for having this available to patients. My entire life has been changed in the past 4 years and I don’t have contact with other PH patients. I have been struggling through each day. It has affected my physical as well as my mental outlook. I was a nurse for 45 years and finally retired May 2016. My worsening breathing was one of the biggest reasons I retired when I did. My nursing was always my ministry. Thank you again for your time.
    Mary Legault

    • Neva Davis says:

      Hello, If you are on Facebook, there are several Pulmonary Hypertension groups you can join. It’s very helpful to talk with folks going through the same issues you have. They are very supportive and can share valuable information. I belong to a couple of these groups….here’s the name of one. PH Family: Global Pulmonary Hypertension Support Group. When you have a weird or new symptom, its nice to have a place to say “have any of you had this experience”. Take care!!!

    • Dianne Roncal, DMD says:

      Glad it has helped you, Mary. Know that you are not alone in this. You have an entire community with you here. 😀

    • Jan says:

      Mary in your 45 years of nursing did they ever teach or inform you about PH and what patients are going through. I have run accross many nurses who give you the dear in the headlight look. I was just wondering.

      • connie mckamy says:

        I have been an EMT for 30 yrs and a nurse for 21 yrs. Have only heard about PAH in passing regarding a patient who wasn’t mine. Because it is rare, nurses aren’t trained in PAH, unless they are in pulmonology. Too many diseases and disorders to be informed in all. This goes for Doctors also, which is why we have specialists who concentrate in certain anatomy/physiology areas. Matter of fact even with symptoms, 2 leaky valves and Rt atrial hypertrophy and a PAH of 37.5 at rest my cardiologist told me I was making a big deal of it, to go home, and not worry about it. Fortunately, I was smart enough to send my records to a specialist in PAH who is getting me in to be seen


    I troubled with Sarcoidosis,Sleep Apnea,Asthma and COPD. since last Nov-2013. I am finding the PAG on March 2014. It Varies (RVSP valves changed from 70 to 114 mmHg according the whether changes)
    I used CPAP nearly 4 years.Now I don’t have Sleep Apeea. And I found The Sarcoidosis is also disappered.Whether i have chance to decrese my PAH If it comes because of Sarcoidosis or Sleep Apnea.
    My age is 49 Years.

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