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Options For People With Primary Pulmonary Hypertention

There is no cure for primary pulmonary hypertension (PPH), a disorder in which pressure in the pulmonary artery is chronically elevated without a cause of diagnosis. There are currently only two types of treatment: lung transplantation and various types of medication. The medicines available for PPH can be divided into five different categories:

Analog prostacyclin. These are drugs that expand the vessels in your lungs, making blood pass easier. This will reduce the pressure on your pulmonary artery. These medications are usually given through continuous IV.

High dose calcium channel blocker. These drugs can act as muscle relaxants. When the vessels in your lungs relax, they are less congested and blood can flow through them more easily. These medicines are often taken as pills.

Endothelin receptor antagonists. These drugs are the blog of acceptance of 'endothelin', a hormone that in turn causes them to block. Again, the goal is to allow blood to flow more freely to your lungs. These medicines are also often taken as pills.

Diuretic. These are drugs (usually pills) that increase the removal of fluid from the body as urine. Removing excess fluid from body tissues can help lower blood pressure.

Anticoagulant. These are drugs (usually pills) that prevent clotting from forming. This reduces the risk of pulmonary embolism, which is a blood clot that is trapped in the lungs.

In addition to some of these treatments, some patients require extra oxygen, taken through the face mask. This increases the amount of oxygen in the bloodstream, which is useful even if the blood flow itself cannot be increased.

The worst cases of PPH may require lung transplantation. This is a relatively new technology: the first lung transplant was performed in 1983. The one-year survival rate for a single lung transplant is 70 percent. Double lung transplantation is not attempted. If the patient has a broken heart and lungs, it is possible to move the two organs together. The survival rate for this procedure is still relatively high, at 60 percent for one year postoperatively.

There are also ways that people can use PPH to maintain their overall health, although it will not directly affect their lung problems. Many doctors recommend lightweight exercise, for example. Patients with PPH need to be careful not to disappoint themselves, so it is recommended that they switch to a shorter exercise routine with longer breaks. Eating healthy foods and reducing salt can also help lower blood pressure.


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