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10 Symptoms of Pulmonary Hypertension You Should Know About

10 Symptoms of Pulmonary Hypertension 

The term pulmonary hypertension refers to high blood pressure in the lungs, and although it’s rare and often goes undiagnosed, it’s also deadly. Left untreated, pulmonary hypertension can lead to other lung problems like right-sided heart failure or sudden death.

10 Symptoms of Pulmonary Hypertension

Fortunately, early symptoms of pulmonary hypertension are easy to spot if you know what to look for, so if you suspect that your loved one might have it, make sure you follow these 10 tips on how to recognize symptoms of pulmonary hypertension.

1) Excessive Thirst

One symptom of pulmonary hypertension is excessive thirst. This is caused by the body's inability to properly regulate fluid levels, which can lead to dehydration. Signs of dehydration include feeling tired, dizzy, and having dry skin. You should see a doctor as soon as possible if you experience any of these symptoms. 

Untreated dehydration can lead to serious health complications, such as angina or severe exhaustion. To avoid dehydration, drink plenty of fluids, get enough sleep every night, and try not to over-exert yourself during exercise. 

It's also important to limit your salt intake because too much salt can worsen your condition. The next time you're thirsty, reach for water instead of sugary drinks like soda or juice that contain high amounts of sugar. Sugary drinks might give you temporary relief from thirst but they won't hydrate your body in the long run. Drinking more than one liter (or 34 ounces) of fluid each day should be enough to prevent dehydration.

2) Shortness of Breath

One symptom of pulmonary hypertension is shortness of breath, which can be caused by the buildup of pressure in the pulmonary arteries. This pressure makes it harder for blood to flow through the vessels and can cause your lungs to work harder. As a result, you may feel tired and out of breath more easily than usual. Shortness of breath can also be caused by other conditions, so it’s important to talk to your doctor if you’re experiencing this symptom. 

3) Fatigue

Pulmonary hypertension can cause fatigue for a variety of reasons:

  • First, the condition itself can be tiring.
  • Secondly, treatments for pulmonary hypertension, such as oxygen therapy, can be tiring. Third, medications used to treat pulmonary hypertension can have fatigue as a side effect.
  • Finally, anemia, which is common in people with pulmonary hypertension, can also cause fatigue.
If you are experiencing fatigue, talk to your doctor to see if it could be caused by pulmonary hypertension or another underlying condition.

In some cases, addressing the fatigue can help alleviate symptoms of pulmonary hypertension. For example, talking to your doctor about whether you need more oxygen may lead to less tiredness from working harder on breathing.

Likewise, treating anemia with blood transfusions may reduce tiredness and increase energy levels. Resting during periods of high activity and taking care to eat healthy foods rich in iron will also help alleviate fatigue.

4) Chest Pain

One symptom of pulmonary hypertension is chest pain. This pain is caused by the heart having to work harder to pump blood through the lungs. The increased pressure on the heart can cause chest pain. This pain can be described as a sharp, shooting pain or a dull, achy feeling. It can be worse when you are active or when you lie down. If you experience chest pain, it is important to see a doctor so that they can rule out other possible causes.

Other symptoms such as dizziness, lightheadedness, and difficulty breathing could also indicate pulmonary hypertension. Ask your doctor about any symptoms you have noticed that are new to you. They will help you determine if these are related to your pulmonary hypertension. If not, then you may need treatment for them.

5) Hoarseness and/or Wheezing

If you experience hoarseness or wheezing, it could be a sign of pulmonary hypertension. This is because the increased pressure in your lungs can cause the blood vessels in your voice box and windpipe to constrict. A variety of symptoms can result from this, including:

  • A feeling of tightness in your chest.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • When you breathe, you hear a whistling or wheezing sound.
  • Cough that won't go away. 
  • Appetite loss. 
  • An inability to sleep through the night. 
  • Coughing up sputum (phlegm) containing blood. 
  • Night sweats and/or chills.
  • Dry mouth and throat, with an accompanying sense of thirst. 
  • Dizziness or fainting spells.
  • Chest pain.
  • Palpitations.
  • Rapid breathing rate.
  • Fever. 
  • Excessive sweating.
  • Weight loss.
If any of these are present, consult your doctor as soon as possible.

6) Abnormal Heartbeat and/or Irregular Heart Rhythms

One result of pulmonary hypertension is an irregular or even abnormally high heart rate. This is often caused by an underlying heart condition, such as mitral valve disease or left ventricular dysfunction. In some cases, pulmonary hypertension can also be caused by lung conditions, such as COPD or sleep apnea.

If you notice any of these symptoms, please see a doctor immediately. 

  • Non-productive Cough: Non-productive coughs are common in people with PH because their lungs are trying to push blood out of the vessels instead of mucus or fluids. You may notice that this type of cough can last for months and/or stop when you take medication.
  • Shortness of Breath: Along with heart irregularities, pulmonary hypertension may cause shortness of breath during exercise or other strenuous activities.
  • Chest Pain: The arteries in your lungs may have narrowed due to high pressure from having PH, which causes chest pain when taking deep breaths.
  • Dizziness and Lightheadedness: These feelings are usually associated with low oxygen levels due to poor circulation within the body.
  • Paroxysmal Nocturnal Dyspnea (PND): Sleep problems and nighttime gasping may occur if pulmonary vascular resistance increases during sleep hours. PND episodes often come on suddenly at night.
  • Bloody Sputum: Blood in the sputum is typically seen after coughing or breathing forcefully, and indicates that there may be bleeding inside the lungs.
  • Swelling of the Legs: Large amounts of fluid buildup within the blood vessels can lead to swelling in the legs and feet, especially upon standing up from a sitting position.

7) Swelling in Extremities

One symptom of pulmonary hypertension is swelling in the extremities, especially in the ankles and legs. This happens because the heart isn’t pumping blood as efficiently as it should be, so fluid backs up in the veins. The swelling can be mild or severe, and it may come and go. If you notice any swelling, see your doctor find out if it could be pulmonary hypertension.

There are many other possible causes for this symptom, such as recent surgery, obesity, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and congestive heart failure (CHF), among others. Your doctor will take a detailed medical history and perform an exam to rule out other causes before diagnosing PH. They may also order tests to check your heart rate, chest X-ray, echocardiogram (echo), or lung function test.

Some people with pulmonary hypertension don't have symptoms at all until they have a chest X-ray or echo. Symptoms may worsen over time if left untreated; someone who doesn't have symptoms today might have them tomorrow. In some cases, medications and/or oxygen therapy can relieve the symptoms.

8) Muscle Weakness or Fatigue

Pulmonary hypertension can cause muscle weakness and fatigue because it makes it harder for your heart to pump blood through your body. This can lead to anemia, which is a condition where there aren't enough red blood cells to carry oxygen to your tissues. This makes you feel tired and weak.

Additionally, pulmonary hypertension can cause damage to the right side of your heart, which can also make you feel fatigued. If you're experiencing muscle weakness or fatigue, be sure to talk to your doctor about it as it could be a sign of pulmonary hypertension.

Other symptoms include chest pain, difficulty breathing, coughing up blood or rust-colored sputum (the phlegm that is coughed up from your lungs), unexplained weight loss, and/or chronic fatigue.

9) Loss of Appetite

Loss of appetite is one symptom of pulmonary hypertension, and it can have a major impact on your quality of life. Not only can it make you feel weak and tired, but it can also lead to weight loss.

Causes of loss of appetite include decreased blood flow to the stomach, inflammation of the lining of the stomach, and medications. If you're experiencing a loss of appetite, talk to your doctor to see if pulmonary hypertension could be the cause. They may prescribe an anti-inflammatory medication or help with changes in diet that may increase your appetite. 

10) Cough That Doesn’t Go Away

If you have a cough that doesn’t go away, it could be a symptom of pulmonary hypertension. This is a serious condition that occurs when the blood pressure in the arteries of your lungs is too high. The symptoms of pulmonary hypertension can be mild at first, but they usually get worse over time.

In addition to a cough, other symptoms include shortness of breath, fatigue, chest pain, dizziness, and fainting. If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s important to see a doctor right away so that you can get the treatment you need.

Without treatment, pulmonary hypertension can lead to complications such as heart failure and stroke. Even if you have one or two of the above symptoms, it’s always a good idea to check with your doctor just in case.


Pulmonary hypertension is a serious condition that can be fatal if left untreated. While there are many possible causes, the most common cause is unknown. If you feel any of these symptoms, see a doctor immediately. With early diagnosis and treatment, pulmonary hypertension can be managed and patients can lead full, active lives.

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