Pulmonary hypertension is condition that can be characterized by the clogging of arteries, which are the blood vessels that are involved in carrying blood to various parts of the body. The normal transport of the blood from the heart to the lungs becomes obstructed when pulmonary arteries are subjected to high blood pressure. Pulmonary hypertension is caused by the intensive pumping of the right ventricle, leading to its own expansion and weakening. In extreme cases, pulmonary hypertension may lead to heart failure or death. If not addressed properly, the life expectancy of pulmonary hypertensive patients lies around 2.8 years on the average.
Fortunately, at present, there are therapies that are used to remedy the problem of hypertension in people.
Pulmonary hypertension may affect people of all ages, though the condition is considered to be rare and is more commonly observed in young adults and women. Some symptoms of the disease include shortness of breath, fatigue, dizziness, and difficulty in fulfilling tasks. People with pulmonary hypertension may also suffer from difficulty in breathing even at rest, irregular heartbeat, rapid pulse, shortness of breath, swollen abdomen, ankles, or legs; chest pain, and bluish lips and skin.
MANAGING PULMONARY HYPERTENSION
There is no known cure for pulmonary hypertension, which is a progressive disease. Thus, if not managed properly, the conditions of the people afflicted with the disease may worsen or eventually lead to death.
However, pulmonary hypertension is manageable and the progression of the disease can be delayed. Medications and healthier lifestyle can help people with the condition to increase their life expectance and lower the risk of developing heart failure or deteriorating general health.
A year after diagnosis, pulmonary hypertensive people have 68% chance of surviving. This probability then decreases to around 34% after another four years. Thus, diagnosing this disease at the earliest stage is very vital in extending the life expectancy of the people afflicted with it.
Preliminary diagnosis of pulmonary hypertension may include an interview regarding the patient’s medical history, physical examination, evaluation of symptoms, and detection of any abnormalities in the sound of the heart. The presence of bump or distension in the jugular vein of the neck, fluid retention in the abdomen, legs, or ankles, and bluish nail beds are also indicators of the health condition.
Other medical examinations are also used in detecting pulmonary hypertension. These tests include the following: Doppler echocardiogram, blood tests, chest X-ray, pulmonary function tests, a six-minute walk test, polysomnogram or overnight oximetry, ventilation perfusion scan (V/Q scan), right heart catheterization, pulmonary angiogram, and chest CT.
However, there is still confusion regarding the conditions that lead to the development of pulmonary hypertension.
FACTORS AFFECTING LIFE EXPECTANCY OF PEOPLE WITH PULMONARY HYPERTENSION
People may be affected with various kinds of pulmonary hypertension. Idiopathic pulmonary hypertension has unknown causes, whereas associated pulmonary hypertension is linked to various conditions, including clots, heart disease, hypoxia, parasite infection, blood disorders, AIDS, cirrhosis, connective tissue diseases, use of weight loss drugs, and presence of toxins in the body.
The type of pulmonary hypertension is used in determining the proper management plan that should be followed by the patient to delay the progression of the disease and prevent it from decreasing their overall health.
One study focused on the factors that affect the life expectancy of people with primary pulmonary hypertension. However, the highlighted factors in the study were not well defined.
The study included 34 pulmonary hypertension cases, and results indicated that age at disease onset, symptoms, or sex of the patient are not useful in predicting the life expectancy of pulmonary hypertension patients. Moreover, though radiographic evidence of cardiac enlargement and presence of right heart strain based on electrocardiogram can be used as factors of survival, the researchers noted that life expectancy of people with primary pulmonary hypertension may vary from case to case.