Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Hypertension - Pulmonary Hypertension

Like apples and oranges -- many similarities but so very different. It is important to know the difference and maintain proper treatment.

Blood pressure is the force in the arteries when the heart beats (systolic pressure) and when the heart is at rest (diastolic pressure). It's measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). High blood pressure (or hypertension) is defined in an adult as a blood pressure greater than or equal to 140 mm Hg systolic pressure or greater than or equal to 90 mm Hg diastolic pressure.

High blood pressure directly increases the risk of coronary heart disease (which leads to heart attack) and stroke, especially when it's present with other risk factors.

And then we have: the Pulmonary Veins return oxygenated blood from the lungs to the left atrium of the heart. After blood enters the left side of the heart it is pumped to the rest of the body. There are four pulmonary veins that return blood to the left atrium.

Primary or unexplained pulmonary hypertension (PPH) is a rare lung disorder in which the blood pressure in the pulmonary artery rises far above normal levels for no apparent reason. The pulmonary artery is a blood vessel carrying oxygen-poor blood from the right ventricle (one of the heart's pumping chambers) to the lungs. In the lungs, the blood picks up oxygen, then flows to the heart's left side, where the left ventricle pumps it to the rest of the body through the aorta.

Hypertension is a medical term for abnormally high blood pressure. Normal average (also called "mean") pulmonary artery pressure is about 14 mm Hg at rest. In patients with PPH, the average blood pressure in the pulmonary artery is greater than 25 mm Hg at rest and greater than 30 mm Hg during exercise. This abnormally high pressure (pulmonary hypertension) is linked with changes in the small blood vessels in the lungs. These changes increase resistance to blood flowing through the vessels. This increased resistance puts a strain on the right ventricle, which now must work harder than usual to move enough blood through the lungs.

Symptoms of PH include:

  • The first symptom is often fatigue or tiredness. Many patients think that they're simply "out of shape."
  • Difficulty in breathing, dizziness and even fainting spells can occur.
  • Swelling in the ankles or legs, bluish discoloration of the lips and skin, and chest pain more often occur later in the disease.

One of the great difficulties in treating Pulmonary Hypertension is that the diagnosis is often delayed due to the slowly progressive and insidious onset of the symptoms. AHA


Don't forget to smile -- it's contagious


Teddybear said...

Wow Merle you are like a talking encylopedia. A world of info. Well done, blessings to you and your family. Love ya, Deb

Diane said...

Hi Merle,
I will miss you in D.C. I will take plenty of pictures and share them with you.Great postings on your blog.I am diggin' it,,lol.
Take care talk to ya when I get back.

Jen said...

I think I have this PH stuff..man..I have most of those symptoms...:((

Great job on your blog:))

Take care..Hope you are keeping warm..


Annette said...

Great post, Merle! This is fun reading all of these blogs and stories!

phtony said...

The first time I heard the word hypertension I thought of a spastic little kid running around high on kool-aid. My, how far we've come - :-)

This is a great post Merle; I'm going to bookmark it under my health favorites so I can better explain to others what it is I have wrong with me.

Take care,