When it comes to pulmonary health, dozens of diseases are diagnosed every day. One of the conditions we treat at Pulmonary Associates of Brandon is pulmonary hypertension. You should know that there are many different types of pulmonary hypertension diagnoses, so let’s dive into what pulmonary hypertension is and the specifics of the five different classifications.
Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is a general term that describes high blood pressure within the lungs, which also impacts the arteries that transport the blood between your lungs and heart. In general, if you have pulmonary hypertension, the arteries narrow down and urge your system to work harder for the blood to flow through the vessels.
The main symptoms of all five groups of pulmonary hypertension are mainly the same and include the following:
- shortness of breath
- chest pressure
- increased pulse
The medical world has recognized five different groups of pulmonary hypertension, which, we’re sure, makes the diagnosis pretty confusing. That’s why we've prepared this list to help educate patients on what makes each group different from both a diagnosis and treatment perspective.
Group 1: Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH)
First of all, pulmonary arterial hypertension is a pretty rare disease which is usually diagnosed in only 20 to 50 people per 1 million. Pulmonary arterial hypertension is a chronic disease that makes the arteries’ walls of the lungs thicken and, as a result, prevents the blood from easily circulating. There are three types of pulmonary arterial hypertension based on the origin of the cause: idiopathic, heritable, and drug & toxin-induced.
Idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension is a type that has no known cause. The disease is more commonly diagnosed in females and young adults. Next, heritable is a form of PAH that can be passed from parents to children and is considered a genetically-related form of pulmonary arterial hypertension. Finally, drug & toxin-induced type speaks for itself: the disease can be caused by drug and toxin abuse and as the result of another evolving disease, like HIV, lupus, congenital heart disease, chronic liver disease, and more.
Treatment options: Common treatments for PAH include various medications that assist the pumping of the heart, help decrease blood pressure and prevent blood vessels from narrowing, get rid of extra fluid that puts pressure on the heart, and reduce undesirable cells growth within pulmonary arteries.
Group 2: Pulmonary Hypertension Due To Left Heart Diseases
This type of pulmonary hypertension is characterized by problems with the left side of the heart and can be caused by numerous heart disorders like left ventricular diastolic dysfunction, coronary artery disease, heart valve disease, damage to heart muscle, and more.
Treatment options: For this group of pulmonary hypertension the treatment will be focused on approaching the disease that caused hypertension in the first place. In addition, to achieve the necessary flow, a gradual pulmonary arteries’ pressure elevation might be required.
Group 3: Pulmonary Hypertension Due To Lung Diseases And/Or Hypoxemia
Patients falling under this group will have pulmonary hypertension developed as a secondary disease after suffering from hypoxia, COPD, interstitial lung disease, or any other lung disease which causes blood oxygen to drop.
Treatment options: Similar to the previous group, pulmonary hypertension due to lung diseases and/or hypoxemia treatment will be based on the cure of the underlying lung disease.
Group 4: Chronic Thromboembolic Pulmonary Hypertension (CTEPH)
This type of pulmonary hypertension would be caused by blood clots in the lungs that physically block the flow of the blood through the pulmonary arteries.
Treatment options: The treatment for this group would include a surgical removal of the blood clots. If surgery is not possible, a pulmonologist will choose medications which stimulate certain chemicals in your body to work together and influence the blood flow.
Group 5: PH With Unclear Multifactorial Mechanisms
Group 5 combines all other causes that are not defined in the previous groups. For example, all causes like hematological and metabolic disorders, various blood diseases, and system disorders will fall under this group.
Treatment options: The treatment will solely depend on the underlying reason. Thus, if a patient has a metabolic disorder that has lead to pulmonary hypertension, his treatment will be mainly aimed at the metabolic disorder as well as relieving pulmonary hypertension by additional medications.
How To Prevent Pulmonary Hypertension?
Believe it or not, it might take months or years before the pulmonary hypertension symptoms start bothering. It’s always better to prevent the disease if possible, rather than deal with dangerous consequences later. With that being said, try to follow simple prevention tips like no smoking, getting lots of sleep every night, managing blood pressure, exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy weight.
If you are already experiencing any of the aforementioned symptoms, don't hesitate to reach out to Pulmonary Associates of Brandon with any questions or concerns. Our highly experienced pulmonologists will perform a range of diagnostic tests to determine the origins of your symptoms.