Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension 101: What’s PAH?


Pulmonary arterial hypertension (or PAH) affects approximately 1 in 100,000 people of all genders, ages and ethnicities.

Although the disease is predominant in young adults through their mid-thirties, affecting twice as many women as men, this rare lung disease can occur at any stage of life.

Pulmonary hypertension causes the arteries that carry blood from the heart to the lungs to narrow, leading to a decreased flow of oxygen to the blood vessels. When the body is deprived of vital oxygen, blood pressure in the pulmonary arteries rises above normal, compressing the right ventricle of the heart. Pressure on this area will eventually cause the right side of the heart to swell, gradually weakening it and restricting blood flow to the lungs. If left untreated, pulmonary hypertension can end in heart failure.

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

1. Abnormal heart rate

One of the first signs of pulmonary hypertension is an abnormal or strong heartbeat, which may feel like a rapid gallop or a systolic murmur. This signals progressive ventricular failure. If the condition goes undiagnosed and worsens, a doctor may hear louder, irregular heartbeats if examining an affected patient with a stethoscope.

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