Also known as pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH)
Pulmonary hypertension occurs when the pressure in the blood vessels that carry blood from your heart to your lungs is higher than normal. One type of pulmonary hypertension is pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). Pulmonary hypertension can happen on its own or be caused by another disease or condition. In the United States, the most common cause of pulmonary hypertension is left heart disease. Other conditions that can cause pulmonary hypertension include sickle cell disease; pulmonary embolus, which is a type of venous thromboembolism; and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
The increased pressure in the blood vessels of the lungs means that your heart has to work harder to pump blood into the lungs. This can cause symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain, and lightheadedness. If left untreated, the increased pressure can damage your heart. This may lead to serious or life-threatening complications, such as heart failure or arrhythmias, which are irregular heart rhythms.
Explore this Health Topic to learn more about pulmonary hypertension, our role in research and clinical trials to improve health, and where to find more information.