Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH) is a life-threatening condition that can be described as having high blood pressure in the arteries that go from your heart to your lungs. This is not the same as having high blood pressure.
PAH causes narrowing and blocking of the arteries in your lungs. Since blood cannot move freely through them, the blood pressure in your lungs increases. This triggers your heart to work harder to pump blood where it is needed making the heart muscles weaker as it progresses and possibly leading to heart failure.
PAH can be caused by another condition or disease you may be dealing with such as liver disease, blood clots in the lungs, congestive heart failure, a heart defect, or lung diseases. Other times, there appears to be no cause for PAH. Those instances are referred to as idiopathic pulmonary hypertension.
Symptoms of PAH may come on slowly and progress as the disease does. The first symptom you will notice is shortness of breath during activity. You may experience other symptoms such as swelling of ankles and legs, fatigue, passing out, and chest pain.
In order to diagnose PAH, your physician may run a series of tests including an echocardiogram, chest x-ray, CT scan, electrocardiogram, exercise test, and ventilation-perfusion scan used to help locate blood clots. Other blood tests may be ordered to check for other conditions and diseases that might be present. Depending on the results of these tests, your physician may choose to do further testing to confirm a diagnosis.
If PAH is confirmed, your physician will work with you to develop a treatment plan. In most cases, your physician will start by determining the cause and treating that. You may also be placed on oxygen therapy to help with low oxygen levels in your blood and be on medications to help avoid fluid buildup in the body.
If you are experiencing these symptoms or think you may have PAH, it is important to talk to your physician.
Source: www.webmd.com, Accessed: 8/9/17