Pulmonary hypertension is a lung disease that affects people of all ages, but more so in women and the elderly. Although the condition is rare, it still affects people, particularly those with previously diagnosed heart disease.
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Compared to systemic blood pressure, pulmonary blood pressure has a much lower value. It is approximately 1/5 of systemic blood pressure with a normal range of less than 25 mmHg at rest and 30 mmHg during exercise.
Pulmonary hypertension is a life-threatening condition if left untreated, which is why getting rid of it is important. In this post, you will learn the meaning of pulmonary hypertension, the types, symptoms, prevention, and some home remedies to get rid of pulmonary hypertension.
What Is Pulmonary Hypertension?
The word “pulmonary” is used to describe the lungs, while “hypertension” is an increase in blood pressure. Pulmonary hypertension is therefore defined as an abnormal increase in blood pressure of the lungs.
How Does Pulmonary Hypertension Arise?
There are four chambers in the heart that are responsible for circulating and transporting blood around the body. These chambers are divided into right and left.
Deoxygenated blood is transported out of the body and taken up by the right atrium. The right atrium then transports this blood through the tricuspid valve to the right ventricle. From this right ventricle, blood is transported to the lungs through the pulmonary artery.
Gas exchange takes place in the lungs; it converts the carbon dioxide present in the blood into oxygen. After that, the blood is no longer deoxygenated, but enriched with oxygen. Oxygen-rich blood is now transported to the lungs and received by the left atrium. The left atrium now transports this blood through the mitral or bicuspid valve to the left ventricle. This oxygenated blood is then transported to the arch of the aorta through the aortic valve where it is transported to the rest of the body for proper function.
Pulmonary hypertension occurs when there is a narrowing or blockage of the pulmonary artery. This causes the heart to forcefully pump blood, creating pressure in these arteries as the lungs are unable to receive the normal volume of blood needed for the body to function properly. If this persists, it can become complicated and lead to heart failure. Several other things lead to pulmonary hypertension. We’re going to look at the classes and types of pulmonary hypertension that we have.
Classification Of Pulmonary Hypertension
Pulmonary hypertension can be divided into two categories. They include:
Primary Pulmonary Hypertension
Primary pulmonary hypertension is an abnormal increase in pulmonary blood pressure that has no underlying disease. The cause of pulmonary hypertension is usually unknown or is a result of a genetic mutation (usually Bone Morphogenetic Protein Receptor Type II, BMPR2 mutation).
Secondary Pulmonary Hypertension
Secondary pulmonary hypertension is an abnormal increase in pulmonary blood pressure that is associated with an underlying disease. There is pulmonary hypertension because there is a disease that causes it.
Types Of Pulmonary Hypertension
Pulmonary hypertension is divided into 5 groups. They are:
Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension
Pulmonary arterial hypertension occurs when the arterial walls of the lungs thicken and the arteries of the lungs become blocked. This makes it difficult for blood to flow freely to the lungs, creating pressure. Pulmonary arterial hypertension can be of unknown origin (which is more common in women), it can be genetic (inherited from blood relatives), it can be drug-induced (mainly from taking weight loss pills), and it can be a result of other systemic diseases such as HIV, chronic liver disease, etc.
Pulmonary Hypertension Caused By Left Heart Disease
Pulmonary hypertension caused by left heart disease is the most common. There is no thickening of the arterial wall and it is very dangerous because the left side of the heart is responsible for transporting the blood to the aortic arch, which then pumps blood to all parts of the body. Any damage or problem with the left side of the heart can cause blood to become blocked in the lungs, causing pressure on the pulmonary arteries. This in turn reduces blood flow to the tissues of the body. This should be checked out by a doctor immediately. Left-sided heart diseases that can lead to pulmonary hypertension include coronary artery disease, persistent hypertension, etc.
Pulmonary Hypertension Caused By Lung Diseases
Pulmonary hypertension can also be caused by lung diseases. It can also be caused by low oxygen levels in the lungs. When the lungs themselves are bad or develop a condition, there is a narrowing of the pulmonary arteries. This puts pressure on the pulmonary arteries. Some of the conditions that can cause this include Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), Cystic Fibrosis, Pulmonary Fibrosis, etc. Staying in an area with a high altitude for a pulmonary period and also a sleep disorder known as apnea can all lead to pulmonary hypertension.
Pulmonary Hypertension Caused By Chronic Blood Clots
Chronic blood clots can also cause pulmonary hypertension. They are known as chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH). They are progressive or long-lasting blood clots in the lungs. These blood clots do not dissolve; Rather, they begin to form scars, causing the pulmonary vessels to become clogged with blood. This leads to narrowing of the vessels and pressure on the pulmonary arteries.
Other conditions that can cause blood clots leading to pulmonary hypertension are tumors in blood vessels, inflammation of the arterial wall known as arteritis, etc.
Pulmonary Hypertension Caused By Other Health Conditions
Pulmonary hypertension can also be caused by other health conditions, such as metabolic or blood disorders. Examples are sickle cell anemia, thyroid disease, sarcoidosis, chronic kidney disease, HIV infection, portal hypertension, etc.
Symptoms Of Pulmonary Hypertension
The following are the symptoms of pulmonary hypertension
- Dyspnea (difficulty breathing)
- cyanosis (bluish discoloration of the lips, nails, and skin)
- chest pain
- Swelling in the legs and ankles
- hyperventilation (rapid breathing)
- loss of appetite
- Tachycardia (rapid pulse)
- abdominal swelling
Stages Of Pulmonary Hypertension
There are 4 stages of pulmonary hypertension. They are:
At this stage, there are no obvious symptoms and you can go about your normal activities without pain or discomfort.
At this stage, the disease does not show any symptoms at rest, but mild symptoms appear with physical activity.
At this stage, the disease manifests itself with severe symptoms at rest and during physical activity. This leads to limitations in performing physical activities.
At this stage, the severity of symptoms increases. They find it very difficult or unable to engage in physical activity. The symptoms will also be more even at rest.
Prevention of Pulmonary Hypertension
The following are ways to prevent pulmonary hypertension:
Maintain A Healthy Weight
Maintaining a healthy weight is one of the ways that pulmonary hypertension can be prevented. It is very important to watch your weight. Obesity and overweight increase the risk of developing pulmonary hypertension. When you maintain a healthy weight, there is no strain on your heart that can cause high blood pressure in your lungs. A BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 is considered healthy, overweight from a BMI of 25 to 29.9, and obese from a BMI of 30.
A healthy diet is very important in everyday life. Your meal should contain more vegetables. Your diet should also include fruit, low-cholesterol milk and yogurt, lean meats, and low-fat foods. Eating a healthy diet helps keep your pulmonary blood pressure and cholesterol levels under control.
Go For Regular Check-ups
It is important to have regular check-ups to quickly address any problem that wants to develop in the lungs and to avoid complications of existing problems.
Regular exercise also helps prevent pulmonary hypertension. Exercise helps bring oxygen into the bloodstream and strengthens the heart and lungs. Exercise is also a way to maintain body weight, as it helps prevent unnecessary weight gain and breaks down excess fat in the body. When excess fat is lost or prevented, fat does not build up in the arterial wall of the pulmonary system. Get more active and you’ll get healthier
Avoid Contact With Asbestos
Exposure to asbestos increases your risk of developing a lung condition called asbestosis. Asbestosis is a chronic disease resulting from inhaling asbestos fibers. Continuous exposure of the lungs to these asbestos fibers causes scarring, and excessive scarring leads to blood occlusion of the pulmonary vessels. This leads to pulmonary hypertension. It is therefore of great importance to avoid inhaling asbestos and use a face mask if you have no other choice and follow safety precautions
Home Remedies For Pulmonary Hypertension
Here are the best natural remedies for pulmonary hypertension:
Ginger is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. It contains salicylate, which helps prevent blood clots in the lungs. This helps clear blockages caused by blood clots that are present in the artery wall. Ginger also helps reduce the buildup of cholesterol in the body and promotes free blood flow. This ensures that the blood is optimally transported through the chambers of the heart and lungs and throughout the body.
Change Your Sleeping Pattern
Sleep apnea has been linked to pulmonary hypertension because it increases pressure in the pulmonary arteries. It’s an abnormal breathing pattern during sleep. This occurs mostly when people with pulmonary hypertension sleep on their back. It is therefore advisable to sleep on your side. If you cannot change this position, then make sure your head is elevated to about 60 degrees. To get rid of pulmonary hypertension, you need to make sure you get at least 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep every day.
Change Your Environment
When you realize you live at a high altitude and realize you have pulmonary hypertension, it’s important to change your environment. If you live in an area that is 2500 meters above sea level, you are at risk of developing pulmonary hypertension. People living at high altitudes suffer from hypoxia (low oxygen levels in tissues). This leads to increased levels of carbon dioxide in the pulmonary artery wall. When there is a lack of oxygen, there is vasoconstriction (narrowing) of the arterial wall, which leads to pulmonary hypertension. To get rid of the pressure in the lungs, it is advisable to change your environment if you live in a high-altitude area.
Pursed Lip Breathing
Pursed-lip breathing helps get rid of shortness of breath and hyperventilation, which are the symptoms of pulmonary hypertension. It helps slow the respiratory rate and improve gas exchange in the lungs. It helps get rid of pulmonary hypertension caused by other lung diseases like COPD
You breathe in deeply through your nose with your mouth closed, hold for a few seconds, and then exhale through your mouth, assuming a whistle or kissing position.
Smoking is a known risk factor for lung disease, cardiovascular disease, and many other diseases. Cigarette smoking causes high blood pressure because it contains nicotine, which is known to increase blood pressure. Smoking also causes atherosclerosis, in which fat, cholesterol, and other substances build up in the arterial wall of the heart and pulmonary vessels. This in turn leads to a narrowing that causes pressure. When quitting smoking, it is better to consult a specialist to know the right quitting process to promote optimal health.
The measures listed above are intended to alleviate or eliminate the discomfort felt. However, if the home remedy for pulmonary hypertension does not relieve or stop the perceived symptoms, you must consult your doctor for the right treatment. It’s also important to go to the hospital if you start getting short of breath. If you are receiving treatment, you need to make sure you follow up and go for check-ups regularly to know how well you are improving.