Pulmonary hypertension is divided into two main types. First is primary pulmonary hypertension which is not caused by any other disease or condition and the second is secondary pulmonary hypertension which is caused by another underlying condition. Secondary pulmonary hypertension is more common than the primary pulmonary hypertension.
Pulmonary hypertension can be caused by diseases of the lungs and heart, such as, emphysema, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, recurrent blood clots traveling from the pelvic or leg veins that obstruct the pulmonary arteries.
Other causes can be from underlying diseases such as scleroderma. Dematomyositis, HIV, sarcoidosis advanced liver disease or porto-pulmonary hypertension and systemic lupus erythematosus are some other conditions that can cause pulmonary hypertension.
People who have sleep apnea may also have it from having chronic low blood oxygen levels. Pulmonary hypertension which are caused by these illnesses may also be referred to as secondary pulmonary hypertension.
If pulmonary hypertension occurs when there is no lung and heart disease or the other illnesses it is then called primary pulmonary hypertension. It is more common for younger people and also more common for females to have primary pulmonary hypertension.
Since Fen/Phen and Redux, anti-obesity type drugs, were removed from the market there have been very few cases occurring from the use of those kind of drugs. But there are some drugs used on the street such as methamphetamines and cocaine that may cause severe cases of pulmonary hypertension.
Basically in primary pulmonary hypertension, the rare lung disorder, the blood pressure in the pulmonary artery, for no apparent reason, rises far above normal levels.
The pulmonary artery is a blood vessel that takes oxygen-depleted blood from the right ventricle over to the lungs where it then picks up oxygen. After that it flows to the heart???s left side, where the left ventricle pumps it out to the rest of the body through the aorta.
With primary pulmonary hypertension the blood vessels that supply the lungs will constrict and then their walls will thicken, so they can not carry as much blood. As in a garden hose that is kinked, the pressure builds up and also backs up. This makes the heart work harder with trying to force the blood through. When the pressure gets too high then eventually the heart won???t be able to keep up and then less blood circulates through the lungs to pick up needed oxygen.
At this time there is no cure for primary pulmonary hypertension, but there are a few pharmaceutical type options for treatment. If these pharmaceutical treatments fail then a heart-lung transplant or just a heart transplant may then be the best options left.