Health

High blood pressure: The dizzy sensation that may indicate risk of pulmonary hypertension

Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the artery walls as it goes through your body. Like air in a tyre or water in a hose, blood fills your arteries to a point. Just as too much air pressure can damage a tire, or too much water pushing through a garden hose can damage the hose, high blood pressure can hurt your arteries and lead to life-threatening conditions like stroke. Feeling breathlessness could indicate pulmonary hypertension. What is it?

Cardiologist Professor Garry Jennings, chief medical adviser of the Heart Foundation says there are dozens of causes of red faces but that high blood pressure's "not really on the list".

"That doesn't mean you can't have a red face when you've got high blood pressure, but most people don't," he says.

"But it is a tad confusing because some factors that can raise blood pressure in the short term can also give you a red face.

"An ongoing problem of high blood pressure — when the force pumping blood exerts on artery walls is greater than normal — nearly always has no outward signs at all though.

"There are usually no inward signs for that matter either.

"That's the reason we're all told to have regular blood pressure checks taken by a doctor.

"However, very severe high blood pressure may cause symptoms such as headache or breathlessness."

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Breathlessness and hypertension

Shortness of breath is a tell-tale sign of the condition of pulmonary hypertension.

Pulmonary hypertension means blocked or narrowed arteries in the lungs.

As a result, the system designed to carry fresh, oxygenated blood into the left side of the heart and then to the rest of the body is affected.

Other indicators of pulmonary hypertension include fatigue, light-headedness, chest pain, racing heartbeat and swelling in the ankles or legs.


See a GP if you have any symptoms of pulmonary hypertension, said the NHS.

It continued: "They may ask you about your symptoms and medical history, and they may carry out a physical examination.

"Correctly diagnosing pulmonary hypertension can sometimes take time because its symptoms are similar to those of many other heart and lung conditions."

Pulmonary hypertension cannot be cured, but treatment can reduce the symptoms and help you manage your condition.

Pulmonary hypertension usually gets worse over time.

Left untreated, it may cause heart failure, which can be fatal, so its important treatment is started as soon as possible.

By following a healthy diet with a limited amount of sodium will help to reduce the risk of pulmonary hypertension.

If you have been experiencing breathlessness it's important to discuss the matter with your GP and try avoiding anything too strenuous.



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