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Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension 101: What is PAH?


Pulmonary arterial hypertension (or PAH) strikes approximately 1 in 100,000 individuals of all genders, ages, and ethnic backgrounds.

Even though the condition shows precedence in young adults in their mid-30s, affecting twice as many women than men, this rare lung disorder can occur at any stage of life.

Pulmonary arterial hypertension causes the arteries that carry blood from the heart to the lungs to narrow, resulting in decreased oxygen flow to the blood vessels. When the body is deprived of vital oxygen, the blood pressure in the pulmonary arteries spikes above the normal range compressing the heart’s right ventricle. The pressure on this area will eventually cause the right side of the heart to swell, gradually weaken, and restrict blood flow to the lungs. If left untreated, pulmonary hypertension can end in heart failure.

Obviously, early diagnosis is key to taking pressure off the heart and allowing oxygen to flow freely to the lungs. Here are the ten warning signs of PAH…

1. Abnormal Heart Rate

One of the initial signs of pulmonary arterial hypertension is an abnormal or loud heartbeat, which might resemble a quick gallop or a systolic murmur. This signals gradual ventricular failure. If the condition is left undiagnosed and worsens, a physician may hear louder and irregular heartbeats if examining an affected patient with a stethoscope.

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