Pulmonary Hypertension Causes
By John Showe-Elder
Pulmonary hypertension is understood by doctors to be a potentially severe ailment with a great intolerance for exercise and which can lead to heart failure. A recent classification which will be discussed later in detail puts into five different groups pulmonary hypertension based on its causes. These groups are namely arterial, venous, hypoxic, thromboembolic or miscellaneous.
In considering pulmonary hypertension causes, doctors make reference to similar classification that exists in classic hypertension namely, primary hypertension and secondary hypertension. Primary pulmonary hypertension causes are not known. Secondary pulmonary hypertension is understood to be caused by other underlying medical conditions.
Causes of pulmonary hypertension can be traced to a process that starts occurring in the lungs. This process particularly begins in the cells that line lung arteries. There are specific changes that occur to pulmonary arteries. Consistent with the definition of blood pressure, the walls of the arteries tighten. They can become stiff from overgrowth of cells or tight from birth. Blood can also form clots in the pulmonary arteries leading to elevated blood pressure.
The tightening of the arteries, growth in the arteries and blood clots causes the heart to work hard to push blood through the arteries into the lungs. In order to fully understand pulmonary hypertension causes, there is need to visit the outcome of the 3rd World Symposium on Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension held in Venice in 2003. The Venice 2003 Revised Classification system of pulmonary hypertension clarified the causes of pulmonary hypertension by putting them into groups.
Pulmonary hypertension in this group is associated with other diseases and disorders such as portal hypertension, HIV infection, narcotic drugs, toxins and even capillary diseases. Pulmonary hypertension in this group may have no known cause. In other words it is the equivalent of essential hypertension in classic hypertension categorization.
Group II to V
Causes of pulmonary hypertension falling into this group are thought to be secondary causes. In other words they can be traced back to a particular cause. Pulmonary hypertension in group II, for example, is thought to be a result of left heart disease. This can be atrial or ventricular disease. Valvular disease may also cause secondary pulmonary hypertension. Valvular heart disease refers to any disease involving valves of the heart. A good example is mitral stenosis which is the narrowing of the orifice of the mitral valve of the heart.
Pulmonary hypertension may also be caused by lung disease or hypoxemia. Hypoxemia refers to decreased partial pressure of oxygen in blood. Other pulmonary hypertension causes in group III classification according to Venice 2003 Classification include sleep apnea, chronic exposure to high attitude and abnormalities in lung development.
Group IV classification of these causes include tumor cells and parasites. Group V causes will include sickle cell disease , human herpes virus associated with Kaposi's sarcoma. Regardless of the initial causes of pulmonary hypertension the outcome on PH is certain. Just as it is hard for water to flow through a tight water pipe than a wide one. Pulmonary hypertension involves the vasoconstriction or constriction of blood vessels connected to the lungs and in the lungs. Pumping blood through the lungs becomes extremely difficult.
The following is a summary of causes of pulmonary hypertension discussed in this article;
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