What Is Pulmonary Hypertension And Why Is It Dangerous?

2011-09-22 | |
Last updated: 2011-09-22

As a result of the constant flow of public service announcements highlighting the importance of heart health, there are few among us who have remained unaware of the dangers of hypertension. High blood pressure damages the heart and arteries and can contribute to the heart failing to do its job or can even cause a heart attack. As a result, it is important to get checked for hypertension regulary as we age.

While we may be aware of all this information, there is another form of hypertension that we hear about far less. This other form of high blood pressure, called Pulmonary Hypertension (PH), occurs as excessive pressure in the blood vessels going from the heart to the lungs. Despite being relatively rare, it is a far more dangerous condition and it is not so rare that we should remain unaware of its existence.

What Causes Pulmonary Hypertension?

Pulmonary Hypertension occurs when the blood vessels going directly from the heart and into the lungs become constricted in size. The heart then works harder to increase the pressure in order to get more blood to the lungs. The cause for the constriction of the blood vessels is not entirely understood, but autoimmune factors have long been considered important in a number of cases.

Research, published this year by scientists from Stanford University, found that at least one cause of Pulmonary Hypertension is due to the immune system not properly regulating the immune response to foreign materials in the lungs. Viral infections, among other causes, can result in the immune system of some people going into overdrive causing the immune system to actually damage the blood vessels of the lungs. As the body attempts to continually repair the ongoing damage, the healing processes thickens the wall of these blood vessels making the flow of blood continually more and more restricted.

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Category: Disease Information, Disease Prevention, Health Risks, Medical Research, Symptom Information

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