Pulmonary arterial hypertension is a condition where blood cannot flow freely through the small arteries in your lungs due to narrowing or obstructions. This resistance in the vessels leads to higher blood pressure in the lungs—making the heart work harder to pump blood through. In time, the heart muscle weakens and fails, which can be fatal.

Causes of Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension

Conditions leading to pulmonary arterial hypertension include:

  • Pulmonary embolism (blood clots in lungs)
  • Congenital heart defect
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Autoimmune diseases (rheumatoid arthritis, lupus)
  • Sleep apnea
  • Lung conditions (emphysema, pulmonary fibrosis, chronic bronchitis)
  • Liver disease (cirrhosis, hepatitis C)
  • HIV/AIDs
  • Drug abuse (methamphetamine, cocaine)

Symptoms of Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension

  • Shortness of breath when motion is increased
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Fatigue
  • Fluid collections in ankles and legs