Pulmonary Hypertension - Symptoms

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What are the signs and symptoms of pulmonary hypertension?

Many people with pulmonary hypertension may have no symptoms at all, especially if the disease is mild or in the early stages.

Pulmonary hypertension symptoms may include:

  • Shortness of breath that worsens with activity
  • Other common complaints are cough, fatigue, dizziness, and lethargy.
  • With the advancement of the condition and ensuing right heart failure, shortness of breath may become worse and retention of fluid in the body may increase (due to failure of the heart to pump blood forward) resulting in swelling the legs.
  • People may also complain of chest pain and angina.
  • Depending on the underlying associated disease, pulmonary artery hypertension can have other manifestations. For example, characteristic skin changes seen in scleroderma, or the signs of liver disease seen in portopulmonary hypertension.

Signs of pulmonary hypertension may include:

  • Rapid breathing, hypoxia (low oxygen level in the blood), and swelling in the legs.
  • In severe pulmonary hypertension, the health care professional may hear louder than normal components of heart sounds when he or she listens to the heart with a stethoscope (auscultation).
  • The doctor may also feel elevation of the chest wall when the heart pumps and this may indicate enlargement of the right side of the heart suggestive of pulmonary hypertension (right ventricular heave).
Return to Pulmonary Hypertension

See what others are saying

Comment from: friar120, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: October 31

I have lived at 10,200 feet for 25 years. I was diagnosed with PH (pulmonary hypertension) several years ago. About 3 years ago I started having episodes of gasping air hunger with physical exertion, extreme lethargy and feeling my heart beats in the middle of my sternum and up into my neck and ear drums. This July I had 2 stents put in my right and left coronary arteries due to 80% and 70% blockage. 50% blockage was found in the other coronary artery in the back of the heart, but no stent was put in. I continue to have symptoms like the above despite having the stents put in. My problem is that the PH test shows up as only slightly elevated in Denver, which is only a mile high in altitude. I live at 2 miles high elevation in altitude and can't get a doctor to "look at the patient" rather than the test results at a lower elevation. I also have vertigo, swelling in my legs and weight gain. I have found that crashing lethargy happens when my oxygen is in the lower 80s and improves when I breathe oxygen at 2 liters. I have also been diagnosed with heart failure. I probably should be on medications, but that won't happen until a doctor recognizes my plight.

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Comment from: law, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: February 11

I am a 45 year old female. I was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension 2 years ago. I was diagnosed with emphysema when I was 37 years old. The only treatment I am currently on is my 2 inhalers. I have dizziness all the time; when I stand up, when I stretch or reach for something, when I pick something heavy up or if I hold my breath at all even for 2 or 3 seconds. I get winded and out of breath climbing the stairs, using the vacuum or making the bed. I have chest pain almost daily. I have insurance through work, but sadly I still cannot afford the expensive tests and medication that is needed. I would like to know what my life expectancy is. My doctor will not give me a straight answer.

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