High blood pressure affects lungs

(STL Today)Dear Dr. Donohue — I have been losing energy for years and thought it was due to aging. I am 67. This past year, I went downhill quickly. I became nauseated, dizzy, short of breath and tired. I had increased headaches and lost 30 pounds (the only good thing to happen). In December, I had severe chest pains, and my blood pressure shot up. Emergency docs and a heart specialist looked at my heart for months after, but nothing showed up. By April, I was barely able to do basic things. Crossing two rooms left me winded. All the doctors I saw scratched their heads.

Then I read your article on pulmonary hypertension. Everything fit my picture. I asked two docs to consider it. They said it was unlikely, because it was so rare. Yesterday the heart doctor gave me a stress test with ultrasound. I couldn’t breathe after three minutes on the treadmill. After I recovered, the doctor said, “It looks like you may have pulmonary hypertension.” I have been online looking it up and am worried about longevity. Thank you for your article. It put me on track to getting treatment. — R.M.

Answer — Thank you for your kind and informative letter. Your story isn’t unique. If you polled a hundred people diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension, I bet half would give a story similar to yours. It’s high blood pressure confined to the lungs. The lungs are such delicate structures that they cannot withstand normal body blood pressure. Their pressure is only one-fifth of the body’s pressure. You describe the signs and symptoms of lung high blood pressure far better than I could.

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