Diagnosing Pulmonary Hypertension: January 11, 2017
A disease with few symptoms can be difficult to diagnose. Doctors say pulmonary hypertension is extremely common, but is often misdiagnosed or underdiagnosed.
Mini Mathew, a nurse practitioner with Lee Health, says shortness of breath is a key symptom to pulmonary hypertension. “Pulmonary hypertension is the name given to a group of diseases. It is the high blood pressure occurring in the blood vessels in the lungs. The right side of the heart is supposed to pump the blood into the little pulmonary arteries and if the resistance is there the heart will have to work hard.”
Pulmonary hypertension is the result of another health problem like heart failure, COPD, liver failure, and lupus, to name a few. “We have to be cautious when we diagnosis patients because according to each group the treatment is different. If the underlying cause is heart disease, we treat the heart disease. If it’s lung disease, we treat the lung disease,” said Mathew.
Other risks for developing pulmonary hypertension are smoking and family history. “Anything that can damage your heart or your lungs can develop into pulmonary hypertension because its narrow blood vessels are getting stiffened,” said Mathew.
While there’s no found cure, there are treatments available. “Maintain their weight; they can control their salt and fluid intake and live a good quality life,” said Mathew.
Regular checkups and conversations with your doctor are also important in preventing and treating the disease.
Bottom line - if you’re going away for the holidays, don’t leave your safety precautions at home.