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What is pulmonary hypertension?

High blood pressure and pulmonary hypertension are NOT the same!

Written by Bhavyajyoti Chilukoti |Published : May 17, 2017 12:19 PM IST

Is pulmonary hypertension the same thing as high blood pressure ? And most often than not pulmonary hypertension (PH) is regarded the same as hypertension, which is not. In reality, these two terms are completely different, although both are associated with blood pressure. Dr Santosh Kumar Dora, Senior Cardiac Electro Physiologist, Asian Heart Institute, Mumbai helps you clear the difference between the two by shedding light on what is pulmonary hypertension and its causes.

What is pulmonary hypertension?

Unlike high blood pressure, which is caused due to increased pressure in the arteries that supply blood, pulmonary hypertension is due to increased pressure in the pulmonary artery, which carries blood to the lungs from the heart. The blood from the right ventricle (lower chamber of the heart) exerts pressure on the pulmonary artery leading to pulmonary hypertension. When the pressure in the pulmonary artery increases to 40/20 mm Hg or when the average pressure exceeds 25 mm Hg, it might indicate pulmonary hypertension. You may also want to find out about ways hypertension or High BP affects your body.

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Pulmonary hypertension classification: In some cases, doctors mat not know the exact cause of the increased pressure in the lungs, which is known as idiopathic pulmonary hypertension. It is known to be hereditary in nature (runs in the family). In other cases, there could be an underlying cause of pulmonary hypertension, which is known as secondary pulmonary hypertension. This could be due to a valve problem, heart defect like low pumping of the heart or problems with the lungs such as asthma, COPD, lung disease or bronchitis, which might lead to high pressure in the lungs.

Pulmonary hypertension and heart: With pulmonary hypertension, the arteries of the lungs might become narrow or blocked, which makes it difficult for blood to flow through the arteries, increasing the pressure in the lungs. Moreover, these changes also make it hard for the heart to push blood through the pulmonary heart to the lungs. As the pressure in the right ventricle and the arteries increase, the heart muscle becomes strain and weak over a period, which can also increase your risk of heart failure.

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