Blood Pressure Alarms

Information On Secondary Pulmonary Hypertension

Secondary pulmonary hypertension can be described as a problem of high blood pressure in the arteries of the lungs. Secondary disease or ailments are in fact the causes of secondary pulmonary hypertension. One of the symptoms of the disease is difficulty in breathing, particularly after exertion.

Augmented pressure in the blood vessels of the lungs resulting from other conditions such as CREST syndrome, scleroderma and mixed connective tissue disease can result in secondary pulmonary hypertension.

There are some other causes of secondary pulmonary hypertension. These are heart disease, lung disease, hypoxia and obstruction of the pulmonary artery by blood clots and plaque. Secondary pulmonary hypertension results in breathing difficulties as pulmonary circulation is obstructed.

The primary function of pulmonary arteries is to carry blood from right side of the heart to the lung where the blood is infused with oxygen. Damage to the pulmonary arteries makes it difficult for such blood transmission. This results in enlargement of the right side of the heart as the heart has to work harder to pump out blood.

Fortunately for us, there are a number of medications that are used to treat secondary pulmonary hypertension. Usually such treatments aim at the underlying heart disease. Vasodilators are the drugs used to expand blood vessels. Such types of medications are nitric oxide, calcium channel blockers and prostacyclin. These medications are useful for treating secondary pulmonary hypertension linked with scleroderma and HIV infection.

One of the vasodilators is prostacyclin which radically lessens blood pressure in the pulmonary arteries. Prostacyclin taken intravenously perks up the quality of life, boosts survival and lessens the necessity of lung transplantation. However, it is important to consult with your physician before taking any vasodilators because of their side effects.

Another drug is Bosentan which is found to be effective in some people. When a person with secondary pulmonary hypertension is administered oxygen through a mask, the increase in the level of oxygen may lessen blood pressure in pulmonary arteries. Another alternative  of treating secondary pulmonary hypertension is single or double lung transplantation. There are also therapies for secondary pulmonary hypertension that aim to remove the underlying causes.

One interesting fact regarding secondary pulmonary hypertension is that people in high altitude of 8,000 feet may suffer from it as an effect of low blood oxygen (hypoxemia). In fact, mountain climbers unfamiliar to high altitudes are also at the risk of pulmonary hypertension.