Pulmonary arterial hypertension is a progressive disorder that is characterized by abnormal high blood pressure in the pulmonary artery, the blood vessel that carries the blood from the heart to the lungs. As we all know, hypertension occurs when most of the very small arteries throughout the lungs narrow in diameter which increases its resistance to the flow of blood through the lungs. In order for one to overcome this increased resistance, pressure increases in the pulmonary artery and in the heart chamber that pumps blood into the pulmonary artery or the right ventricle.
The symptoms of pulmonary arterial hypertension occur when there is an increase in pressure that can’t fully overcome the elevated resistance and blood flow to the body is insufficient. Shortness or breath or dypnea during exertion and fainting spells are the most common symptoms of pulmonary hypertension. People with this condition may experience other symptoms when the condition worsens like dizziness, swelling of the ankles or legs, chest pain and a racing pulse.
How common is pulmonary arterial hypertension?
In the US, 1,000 new cases of pulmonary arterial hypertension are diagnosed each year. Usually, this condition is mot common in females than males.
Pulmonary arterial hypertension and genes
It is said that mutations in the BMPR2 gene cause pulmonary arterial hypertension. The BMPR2 gene plays a role when it comes to the regulation of the number of cells in certain tissues. Researchers suggested that a mutation in this gene promotes cell division or prevents cell death which results in an overgrowth of cells in small arteries throughout the lungs. This results to narrow arteries in diameter which increases the resistance to blood flow. There are also other genes that have not yet been identified that may also cause this disease.
It is also known that people who have a current heart condition are more prone to acquire pulmonary arterial hypertension. So, if you are experience any of pulmonary hypertension symptoms or you suspect that you have pulmonary arterial hypertension, it is always best that you have yourself checked up and undergo some tests. This will be best and it is always important that you keep good track of your health.