Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension

Pulmonary arterial hypertension is a progressive disorder characterized by abnormally high blood pressure (hypertension) in the pulmonary artery, the blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the lungs. Hypertension occurs when most of the very small arteries throughout the lungs narrow in diameter, which increases the resistance to blood flow through the lungs. To overcome the increased resistance, pressure increases in the pulmonary artery and in the heart chamber that pumps blood into the pulmonary artery (the right ventricle).

Signs and symptoms of pulmonary arterial hypertension occur when increased pressure cannot fully overcome the elevated resistance and blood flow to the body is insufficient. Shortness of breath (dyspnea) during exertion and fainting spells are the most common symptoms of pulmonary arterial hypertension. People with this disorder may experience additional symptoms, particularly as the condition worsens. Other symptoms include dizziness, swelling (edema) of the ankles or legs, chest pain, and a racing pulse.



Genes are related to Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension
Mutations in the BMPR2 gene cause pulmonary arterial hypertension.The BMPR2 gene plays a role in regulating the number of cells in certain tissues. Researchers suggest that a mutation in this gene promotes cell division or prevents cell death, resulting in an overgrowth of cells in small arteries throughout the lungs. As a result, these arteries narrow in diameter, which increases the resistance to blood flow. Blood pressure in the pulmonary artery and the right ventricle of the heart increases to overcome the increased resistance to blood flow.

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