Pulmonary hypertension takes different forms and they are all serious. The good news is treatments exist for all known forms.
You and your physician, once the diagnosis is confirmed, will formulate a treatment plan involving medications, diet and more. The following are common medications used in treating pulmonary hypertension.
- Vasodilators – Also known as blood vessel dilators help to open narrow and constricted blood vessels, easing blood flow and workload on the heart. Some of these types of medications are given through an IV (intravenously), inhalation, and injection or taken orally. Sildenafil and Tadalafil are other types medications are included in this category.
- Endothelin receptor antagonists – Endothelin is the substance responsible for the narrowing of blood vessels. Antagonist medication works against the substance, reversing the effects.
- Calcium-channel blockers – Given in high doses, these medications aid in decrease the rigidity of the muscles in the walls of arteries.
- Soluble Guanylate Cyclase Stimulator (SGC) – Medications in this category interact with nitric oxide to help decrease rigidity in the pulmonary vessels and lower pressure.
- Blood Thinners – Also known as anticoagulants, these are prescribed to help break down and prevent blood clots.
- Digoxin – This medication helps the heart to beat stronger and increase effectiveness with each beat.
- Diuretics – Otherwise known as “water pills”, these medications assist the body in pulling fluid away. Fluid buildup can increase the workload on the heart.
- Oxygen – Oxygen will help those with pulmonary hypertension, especially if living in high altitudes or have a condition known as sleep apnea. As the disease progresses, continuous oxygen will be required.
What can I do to better prepare myself for dealing with this?
Pulmonary hypertension is a chronic condition that will require a commitment to treatment, following orders, and preparedness. The following are tips suggested by various health professionals.
- Join a support group – this will allow you to connect with others who have the same condition and can give you tips and ideas on how to cope with the disease as well as provide emotional support.
- Work with a specialist – this will ensure you are getting the most effective treatment as well as the most up to date information regarding the disease.
- Be Prepared – emergencies happen and being prepared is ideal not only for you but also for loved ones. Symptoms can change or worsen quickly, and become life-threatening.
- Ensure proper care – some medications require the placement of a catheter for continuous delivery of the drug in some patients. Be sure to keep the area clean, covered and report any abnormal symptoms to your physician immediately.
- Medication – always keep your medical information with you for any emergencies that arise as well as ensuring that any medical professional you encounter will be able to help you better.
- Backup Supply – always have a backup supply in case you run out of one medication and are unable to get more for some time. Be sure your physician is aware of the medicines in your supply, and you have both created a plan of action.