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Pulmonary Hypertension
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Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is increased pressure in the pulmonary arteries, the arteries that carry blood from your heart to your lungs to pick up oxygen.  Three types of changes can affect the pulmonary arteries and cause PH: Walls of the arteries tighten.Walls of the arteries are stiff at birth or become stiff from an overgrowth of cells.

Blood clots form in the arteries. These changes make it hard for the heart to push blood through the arteries and into the lungs. Thus, the pressure in the arteries rises. Also, as a result of the heart working harder, the right ventricle becomes strained and weak.  The heart may become so weak that it can't pump enough blood to the lungs. This causes heart failure. Heart failure is the most common cause of death in people who have PH. 

Signs & Symptoms 

Shortness of breath during routine activity, such as climbing two flights of stairs


Chest pain

A racing heartbeat 

As PH worsens, you may find it hard to do any physical activities. At this point, other signs and symptoms may include: 

Feeling lightheaded, especially during physical activity
Fainting at times
Swelling in your legs and ankles
A bluish color on your lips and skin 


PH diagnosis is based on your medical and family histories, a physical exam, and the results from tests and procedures. PH can develop slowly. In fact, you may have it for years and not know it. This is because the disease has no early symptoms. When symptoms do develop, they're often like those of other heart and lung conditions, such as asthma. This makes PH hard to diagnose. PH has no cure, but treatments may help relieve symptoms and slow the progress of the disease. PH is treated with medicines, procedures, and other therapies. Treatment will depend on what type of PH you have and how severe it is. The earlier PH is treated, the easier it is to control. You can work with your doctor to manage your symptoms and slow the progress of PH. Get ongoing care. Follow your treatment plan and call your doctor if your symptoms worsen or change. Make lifestyle changes, such as eating healthy, quitting smoking, and doing regular physical activity. 
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WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) patient advocacy organization with thousands of members nationwide, including women heart patients and their families, health care providers, advocates and consumers committed to helping women live longer, healthier lives. WomenHeart supports, educates and advocates on behalf of the nearly 48 million American women living with or at risk of heart disease. Our programs are made possible by donations, grants and corporate partnerships.

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