Can Pulmonary Hypertension Make It Harder For You To Breathe?

The Mayo Clinic says that pulmonary hypertension is a type of high blood pressure that occurs in the lungs. Michigan Health further explains that people with pulmonary hypertension have narrowed or blocked arteries inside their lungs. This makes it hard for the right side of the heart to push blood through the lungs, creating strain on the heart. It also makes it difficult for the oxygenated blood exiting the lungs to be carried into the left side of the heart and through the rest of the body.

MedlinePlus explains that there are two primary types of pulmonary hypertension. The first type may be inherited or occur for no discernible reason. The second type is generally related to some other lung or heart disease that you have.

The Mayo Clinic notes that certain factors can put you at greater risk of pulmonary hypertension, including a family history of the condition, being overweight, having a blood-clotting disorder, being exposed to asbestos, being born with congenital heart disease, living at a high altitude, and using certain drugs such as particular diet pills, antidepressants, or illegal drugs like cocaine or methamphetamine.

Shortness of breath is a common first symptom

If you have pulmonary hypertension, one of the first symptoms you might have is shortness of breath with normal activities, such as climbing stairs, says the Cleveland Clinic. You might also feel tired or have dizziness and episodes of fainting. The strain the heart is going through can also make you begin to swell as fluid accumulates in your legs, ankles, and abdomen. Your skin and lips may turn blue since you are not getting adequate oxygen. You may feel pain in your chest as well.

As your condition worsens, you might have symptoms even while resting. You might also have an irregular heartbeat or racing pulse in addition to your other symptoms.

MedlinePlus writes that, over time, pulmonary hypertension can put so much stress on your heart that it causes heart failure. You may eventually find it difficult to do anything at all as your condition deteriorates.

You should see a doctor if you show signs of pulmonary hypertension. There is no cure, but it is possible to treat the symptoms. Treatment might involve treating any underlying heart or lung disease, providing oxygen, prescribing medications, or performing lung transplantation.