Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is a chronic lung disease that occurs when your pulmonary arteries become narrowed or blocked, causing increased blood pressure in the lungs and forcing the heart to work harder. It usually affects people ages 20 to 60, but children and older adults can develop PH, too. Women are twice as likely to get the disease.
1. Right heart enlargement
The right side of the heart is especially vulnerable in pulmonary hypertension patients because it has to work harder in order to pump deoxygenated blood back to the lungs. The walls of the right heart thicken and expand (a condition called cor pulmonale), which can lead to heart failure.
2. Blood clots
Generally, blood clotting is needed because it helps stem bleeding after an injury. However, occasionally clots can travel up to the lungs and become lodged. With pulmonary hypertension, chances for developing blood clots in the lungs is increased because the arteries are narrowed making blood flow difficult. In that case, the clot can be life-threatening.
3. Irregular heartbeats
Irregular heartbeats, or arrhythmias, can cause a pulmonary hypertension patient to feel dizzy or faint. Sometimes, they can be fatal.
4. Coughing up blood
Bleeding in the lungs, or hemoptysis, is another potentially fatal complication of PH.
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