Pulmonary Artery Hypertension and its Management
Pulmonary artery hypertension (PAH) is a disease affecting the lungs as well as the heart. The condition does not have any permanent cure but there are treatments to help patients to decrease the intensity of symptoms. Integrated disease management can increase the life expectancy of the patient and a patient can live as normal to some extent.
What is a Pulmonary Artery?
The term pulmonary is used to refer anything related to lungs. The pulmonary artery is a blood vessel that carries blood away from the right ventricle towards the lungs. Then lungs through diffusion oxygenate the deoxygenated blood from the heart.
What is Pulmonary Artery Hypertension?
The pulmonary artery wall is thickened and this leads to the narrowing of the artery through which blood flows. In order to make the blood flow through the narrowed artery heart exerts extra pressure to pump blood. A continuous extra work by heart can lead to the thinning of the heart muscle. The result may be heart failure. This condition may also increase pressure in the lungs as well.
What are the causes of PAH?
The main cause of the disease is not known in detail. It is very difficult to treat when the disease is of unknown origin. There are some causes, which can also create pulmonary artery hypertension.
- Drug reaction
- Autoimmune disorder
- HIV infection
What are the symptoms to expect?
The common symptoms occur due to two reasons. The main reason is when the blood is not oxygenated properly. Our body requires enough amount of oxygen to do its daily activity. A small variation in oxygen level can affect in a serious way. You may face difficulty in executing routines when the condition is severe. The other cause of the symptom is the weakening of heart muscle. The main symptoms include
- Chest pain
- Swelling of ankles and legs
- Heart palpitation
- Shortness of breath
When to consult a doctor?
Untreated pulmonary artery hypertension leads to death within a short time period. A practical management is mandatory for the patients. If the disease is diagnosed in early stages and the cause is known, it can be cured to some extent. Whenever you experience more fatigue while doing the usual works or if you experience severe shortness of work in a normal hard work, you should consult a doctor. The symptoms are common for multiple disorders; even low haemoglobin level shows the same symptoms as of pulmonary artery hypertension. Carelessness should not lead to any complications.
What is the functional status of the disease?
There are several classes of the disorder based on the severity. The stages include
- Class 1: you do not experience the symptoms at all when you do your normal activities but symptoms are seen at moderately high body activity.
- Class 2: there are no symptoms at rest but normal body activities induce symptoms.
- Class 3: You feel stressed while doing very small normal activities.
- Class 4: the most dangerous stage of pulmonary artery hypertension-You are tired even at rest.
What is the treatment for pulmonary artery disease?
There are no perfect treatments for pulmonary artery disease. If the cause is curable then the degree of worsening of the disease can be controlled but the damage caused by pulmonary artery hypertension can never be corrected. Lung transplantation is considered as one of the solutions.
Personal care to be followed?
Based on the status of the disease doctor will suggest you do some sort of exercises. Common exercises are walking and simple body activities. Moderate exercise helps you to balance heart pressure and breathing. Sufficient rest has to be taken. Avoid alcohol intake. Supplement the diet with fruits and avoid oily foods from the diet. Some simple yoga can also be performed. Some patients will need oxygen supplementation while exercising. All these remedies help you to live normally with the disease and it is effective in reducing the risk of worsening.