Medical and Lifestyle Treatments for PAH Disease

Medical and Lifestyle Treatments for PAH Disease

Pamela Bandelaria |Sep 8, 2021

PAH Disease

Hypertension is a common illness in adulthood. Many people have it, but what many people do not usually know is that there are many kinds of hypertension. Pulmonary artery hypertension (PAH disease) is one such example. Have you heard about it before? PAH disease is important to know about because if it is not detected early and treated promptly, it can worsen through the years and be life-threatening. This article will discuss what pulmonary artery hypertension is, its causes, symptoms and treatment.

What is PAH Disease?

The pulmonary artery is responsible for carrying deoxygenated blood from the heart to the lungs. Once in the lungs, the blood is oxygenated before returning to the heart through the pulmonary vein. Pulmonary artery hypertension occurs when the pulmonary artery is narrowed or thickened. This causes an increase in the pressure in the lungs, causing your heart to work extra hard to be able to continually pump blood throughout the body. If the pressure is consistently high for a long period of time, the heart muscle will compensate initially, but then eventually will deteriorate, leading to heart failure and death.

Pulmonary artery hypertension usually occurs in women aged 30 to 60. It is not as common as other illnesses, with around 500 to 1,000 cases of pulmonary artery hypertension being diagnosed in the U.S. yearly.

What Causes PAH?

Stress and pressure in the arteries have many causes. Hypertension is a multifactorial disease, there is no single entity that causes it. Mostly the cause is idiopathic, or unknown, but there are certain risk factors that can increase one’s chances of having pulmonary artery hypertension.

It’s been found that genetics have a role in the occurrence of the disease. PAH is inherited in around 15% to 20% of cases. In other cases, a specific cause can be identified. Conditions that cause a strain in your blood pressure include:

  • Congestive heart failure.
  • Congenital heart diseases (such as heart valve disorders).
  • Blood clots in the lungs.
  • Emphysema.
  • Chronic bronchitis.
  • Pulmonary fibrosis.

Other illnesses such as autoimmune conditions (lupus, scleroderma, rheumatoid arthritis) can also have pulmonary artery hypertension as a complication. Infections such as HIV can cause inflammation in the arteries leading to narrowing and constriction of the blood vessels. Drugs such as cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine can also cause this.

What Are the Symptoms of PAH?

The signs and symptoms of PAH disease can be long-standing. They may be undetected for months or years and only appear when the condition worsens as the disease progresses. This is because initially, the heart compensates to try to keep blood from continuously flowing. During this time the affected person does not feel anything or may feel something but will not seek to consult immediately. As the condition progresses, the pressure eventually becomes too high to a point where the heart will not be able to function properly and will give out. This is the time that signs and symptoms are usually evident and sometimes it is detected too late.

Early signs and symptoms suggesting pulmonary artery hypertension include:

  • Shortness of breath that initially occurs upon strenuous activity such as exercise. This eventually worsens to shortness of breath and difficulty of breathing even when at rest.
  • Fatigue or dizziness.
  • Chest pain.

Late signs and symptoms include the following:

  • Fainting.
  • Swelling (medically termed edema) can be seen in the legs and abdomen, which is suggestive of heart failure.
  • The severe difficulty of breathing with bluish discoloration (cyanosis) of the lips, nail beds, or skin.

Diet and Lifestyle Changes

In addition to medications, there are other nonmedical strategies that can be done to prevent and prolong the worsening of this condition. These include:

Monitor Your Blood Pressure

Constant monitoring of your blood pressure and pulse. It is important to have normal blood pressure and pulse because abnormal values may indicate stress and strain on the heart.

Incorporate an Exercise Routine

Regular exercise and maintaining a body weight that is within the normal range. This is important because a sedentary lifestyle is not helpful for the heart. Furthermore, any excess weight can add an extra burden to the heart, so it is important to keep within the normal range. This can be done by eating healthy and exercising regularly.

Avoid Smoking and Alcohol

Having a healthy lifestyle without vices. Smoking and alcohol are well-known to contribute to hypertension. Because the cause of any form of hypertension is multifactorial by nature, it is important to avoid these substances as they can increase your chances of having the condition. Further, it can worsen the condition and hasten the appearance of complications.

Medical Treatment

There is no cure for pulmonary artery hypertension, and affected people deal with it throughout the remainder of their life. Pulmonary artery hypertension, especially when presenting with symptoms, is treated medically. It is hard to manage this condition without giving any form of medication. The goal of medication is to lessen the pressure in the blood vessels of the heart and lungs to avoid any stress or strain on the heart. The medications are able to manage the symptoms and allow affected people to have an improved quality of life.

There are a lot of medications that can be prescribed, all acting on different receptors and having different effects. Some medications relax the blood vessels directly, which addresses the problem of the narrowing of blood vessels. Other medications decrease the swelling or edema so that the heart will not be overloaded with fluids. Other medications are anticoagulants which prevent blood clots. If the condition is found to be too severe to be treated with medications, transplant surgery is advised.

In Conclusion

Even if it is not as common, it is important to know what pulmonary artery hypertension is. Because it is a progressive disorder, it is sometimes detected too late. By knowing about it and spreading information, more cases can be detected, earlier avoiding irreversible complications.

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What You Need to Know About Hyperkalemia

Staff Writer | September 8, 2021

What is Hyperkalemia? Hyperkalemia is the medical term for when you experience high potassium levels in your blood. In terms of numbers, a healthy individual will have between 3.6mmol/L and 5.2mmol/L in their body. Anything higher than that is officially classified as hyperkalemia. Between 5.3mmol/L and 6.0mmol/L is mild hyperkalemia. Between 6.1mmol/L and 7.0 mmol/L is moderate hyperkalemia. Above 7mmol/L is severe hyperkalemia. Why is Too Much Potassium Harmful? Potassium is healthy for you in the right doses. Your body needs it to function properly. It is an incredibly important substance that plays a vital role in your nerves and muscle cells. This means that you need it for your heart to work. Like with anything else, too much of a good thing is not good. The more common form of hyperkalemia only rears mild to moderate symptoms. The most extreme severities of this condition can result in death. Symptoms of Hyperkalemia Generally, until your hyperkalemia is severe, you may not even experience or recognize any of the symptoms. As your levels soar to dangerous heights, you may experience one or more of the following symptoms: Muscle weakness or pain. Your muscles may feel tender or even painful. It may feel as though you just finished an intense workout. Fatigue. Despite getting adequate sleep, you may feel sluggish and tired the entire day or you may be too weak to function. Nausea. An upset stomach may or may not be accompanied by some vomiting. This is a common sign of hyperkalemia. Breathing problems. You may find it difficult to take deep breaths or find yourself forced to gasp for air. Irregular heartbeat. Your heart may beat funnily or feel weird in your chest. This is always a symptom to bring up to your doctor immediately. Chest pains. Chest pains ranging from mild to severe are a common result of hyperkalemia. In the most extreme cases, hyperkalemia left untreated can cause cardiac arrest and death. What Causes Hyperkalemia? There are several known causes of hyperkalemia, which range from medical disorders to lifestyle habits. Hyperkalemia is known to have many causes. These include: Kidney Disease The main function of a kidney is that it filters everything in your body. When there is something wrong with your kidneys, it can mess up all sorts of vitamin levels in your body. Potassium is just one of them. Heart Disease Heart disease results in a variety of factors that make it more likely to have problems with your potassium levels. Hormone Imbalances Having abnormally low amounts of aldosterone can result in potassium problems. This can happen due to a variety of conditions, including hypoaldosteronism and congenital adrenal hyperplasia. Diabetes A lack of insulin may be the culprit behind enhanced potassium levels. This is something that would be more likely to occur if diabetes is undermanaged (or undiagnosed). [youmaylike] Medications Side effects of certain medications could cause potassium levels to rise. You may be surprised to see that some common medications will do this. Non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen and naproxen, will do it. Some of the other medications that can do this are heparin, mannitol, beta-blockers, angiotensin inhibitors, calcium blockers, and cyclosporine. Diet Medications are not the only way to introduce potassium to the body. There are lots of foods that can lead to heightened potassium levels. Many of these foods are healthy, but to a person at risk for hyperkalemia, they can be dangerous if not eaten in responsible quantities. There is also the chance that you are a victim of pseudo hyperkalemia. As the name suggests, you do not have any potassium problems. Sometimes due to faulty equipment, you will get a wrong reading. Hyperkalemia Treatment To determine how to treat hyperkalemia, it is important that you first identify the cause of it in yourself. Getting advice from a licensed medical physician is the best way to determine your treatments. Diet Change Changing your diet can do wonders for your health. If you battle hyperkalemia, consider limiting your intake of foods rich in potassium like cucumbers, pumpkins, potatoes, bananas, grapefruit, oranges, eggplants and peas. Intravenous Calcium or Insulin and Glucose Medical injections are an efficient and fast technique to lower calcium levels. When diet alone is not enough, these can drop your potassium levels to a safer place in a pinch. Albuterol Doctors may also administer albuterol alone or in addition to other treatments. Unfortunately, this does not work for everyone. Changing Medications If a certain medication is causing dangerous, unwanted side effects, you may want to talk to your doctor about switching.

10 Most Common Symptoms of Poor Circulation

John David Abundo | September 8, 2021

Symptoms of Poor Circulation In this article, we will focus on the symptoms of poor circulation and when you should seek medical help. Signs of Poor Circulation 1. Varicose Veins If the valves in the veins of the legs are damaged, your blood will find it difficult to get back to the heart. This results in engorged veins and will eventually cause varicosities in the legs. Varicose veins are more common to those who regularly stand for long periods. 2. Painful Muscle Cramping The most common symptom of poor circulation is claudication, described as muscle discomfort or painful cramping, particularly in the legs. This is felt when you exercise or walk and usually disappears after resting your legs. The muscles that are most involved are the hips, thighs or calves. Claudication happens if there is a hindrance to the normal blood flow. For example, in atherosclerosis, where there is a buildup of cholesterol plaques in the blood vessels, the muscles cannot get enough blood during physical activity. The cramping pain is the muscle’s way of warning you that it is not getting enough blood during exercise to meet its increased demand. 3. Numbness or Weakness Reduced blood flow to different body parts may cause slow and irreversible damage to the nerves, which may be felt as tingling, numbness or weakness in that area. This is particularly alarming because having numbness on the extremities decreases your skin’s sensitivity to pain. As a result, there may be instances where your skin has already been damaged or wounded, but you cannot feel it. 4. Temperature Differences in the Extremities Poor circulation can lead to fluctuations in your skin’s temperature regulation. For example, reduced blood flow to your hands or feet may make them colder than the other parts of your body. To assess the temperature of your skin, you can use the back of your hands for a more accurate assessment. 5. Wounds That Do Not Heal or Heal Slowly Wounds heal by the different components and cells delivered through the bloodstream to the affected area. When blood flow is compromised, the healing process takes much longer and may even lead to infections. Even the slightest break in the skin may lead to catastrophic changes that could lead to amputation, especially in people with diabetes. 6. Change of Skin Color When there is insufficient blood flow, the skin may appear pale or blue (cyanosis). The change of color in the skin indicates that the oxygen-rich blood is unable to reach those tissues. The commonly affected body parts that may have this symptom are the toes, fingers, palms, soles and lips. [youmaylike] 7. Poor Hair or Nail Growth Hair and nails need the nutrients in your body to keep them healthy. Nutrients are delivered to the hair and nails through the blood. Therefore, any blockage or hindrance of the normal circulation of blood may affect the growth of healthy hair and nails, which can lead to hair loss or poor nail growth. 8. Shiny Skin on Legs Shiny skin on the legs can indicate that the skin stretched due to excess fluids in the legs. Poor circulation can cause blood pooling in the legs, resulting in fluid leakage from the blood vessels to the surrounding tissues. In turn, the skin will stretch, giving it a shiny appearance. 9. Weak Pulses When blood flow is restricted, the usual, brisk pulses on the extremities become weaker. Doctors usually include this in their physical examination to rule out any peripheral arterial disease. 10. Erectile Dysfunction in Men The penis is made up mostly of blood vessels. Penile erection happens because the arteries of the penis are filled up with blood to elongate and stiffen the organ. When there is poor circulation, blood cannot fill up the blood vessels in the penis. Most cases of impotence are a complication primarily of the arterial system. What is Poor Circulation? Poor circulation is not a condition in itself, but having any of its symptoms may indicate more serious conditions, such as: Peripheral artery disease (PAD). Uncontrolled diabetes. Blood clots. Atherosclerosis (buildup of fatty deposits in the vessels). Heart conditions. Having poor circulation may not be apparent initially. Still, whether you experience symptoms or not, it is important to be aware of them early on to help detect the underlying cause. For example, smoking, a sedentary lifestyle and obesity are all factors that increase the likelihood of a person experiencing poor circulation symptoms. In Review The symptoms of poor circulation may vary for each person. In general, conditions that cause poor circulation are easier to treat when your doctor detects it early. If you experience any of these symptoms and suspect that it may be caused by a dysfunction in your normal blood circulation, it is essential that you see your doctor for assessment and treatment right away.

9 Signs of Pregnancy to Be Aware Of

Sinead Carey | September 8, 2021

What Are the Symptoms of Pregnancy? The early signs and symptoms of pregnancy can vary wildly from person to person. It is essential to be aware of the common symptoms and the possible and rare symptoms. So, what are the symptoms of pregnancy? We will dive into the specifics. Common Symptoms of Pregnancy 1. Missed Period Missing your period is most often the first sign of pregnancy. Your body recognizes the conception and stops making the hormone that sheds the lining of your womb. Your menstrual cycle is essentially paused, and you won’t have another period until after the baby is born. 2. Morning Sickness Contrary to what is shown on TV, morning sickness can also happen at noon and night. Feeling nauseous and vomiting is a normal part of early pregnancy. It is most common in the morning, and this is what coined the term. 3. Overtiredness or Fatigue You know the feeling when you sleep well but still feel tired? That is fatigue, and it is common in early pregnancy. Experts say this is due to the rise of hormone levels. This feeling tends to improve over time. 4. Frequent Urination Are you going to the bathroom every 10 minutes? This is another sign of pregnancy. Your body’s blood supply increases to support the new life, which means your kidneys must work harder. More waste plus more urine equals extra trips to the bathroom. 5. Aching Breasts Your breasts may start to feel sore and tender. You may have felt this before during your period, or it could be a completely new experience. This feeling is due to your fluctuating hormone levels and should fade with time. Some people describe this as an aching or tingling feeling. You might also experience a slight enlargement of your breasts. 6. Mild Cramps and Spotting Don’t panic if you see you have light spotting or cramping in the first few weeks. Spotting can indicate that the embryo has implanted in the lining of your womb. Implantation usually takes place a few days after you conceive and can cause blood spots or brown discharge. This symptom is crucial to know about, as it causes many people to believe they are not pregnant. If you are concerned or the bleeding persists, speak to your doctor without delay. 7. Headaches Persistent headaches can be a sign of so many things. That is why people don’t recognize them as a sign of pregnancy. If you are experiencing frequent headaches, there may be more to it than you think. Make sure you find a headache treatment option that safe for you. 8. Metallic Taste in Mouth Some people experience a metallic, coppery taste during early pregnancy. It can happen when eating or at seemingly random times throughout the day. Again, people do not consistently recognize the taste as a possibility of pregnancy. 9. Changes in Food Preferences This symptom varies from person to person, and some don’t experience it at all! You may crave certain foods; you may feel sick after certain foods; you can have a complete aversion to food altogether. Nutrition during pregnancy is important, and you should discuss this symptom with your doctor. [youmaylike] Rare Symptoms of Pregnancy Other symptoms that are rare but could affect you are: Heightened sense of smell. Heart palpitations. Increased saliva production (more drool). Nosebleeds. Swollen gums or tooth problems. More pimples or acne. Hot sweats. Are At-Home Pregnancy Tests Reliable? The sure-fire way to know if you are pregnant is to take an at-home test. These tests are reliable, and though false positives occur, it is rare. Always check the label, as different brands show different symbols to indicate pregnancy. The tests generally take a few minutes to develop, and digital tests can even display the word pregnant. When Should You Talk to a Doctor If You Think You’re Pregnant? If you suspect that you are pregnant, have a positive test result or are currently trying to get pregnant, the next step is to talk to your doctor. Your doctor will want to take a complete medical history, and if you are already pregnant, they may prescribe prenatal medication. The doctor can guide you on the steps throughout the pregnancy and lend an ear if you have any questions. It is vital to discuss everything with a medical professional. Your doctor is the gateway to an informed and happy pregnancy.