There are several different categories of pulmonary hypertension, all of which our team is skilled and experienced in detecting and managing. As your doctor will explain, your particular type of pulmonary hypertension will determine your care plan.
We have considerable experience treating patients who simultaneously have mixed and often different reasons for their PH.
The categories of Pulmonary Hypertension are:
Group One: This refers to pulmonary hypertension that either has no known cause (idiopathic), is inherited and genetic in nature, or is caused by certain underlying disease processes. These include connective tissue diseases, such as lupus and scleroderma, and liver disease. Some people with idiopathic pulmonary hypertension may have a gene that's a risk factor for the disorder. But, in most people with idiopathic pulmonary hypertension, there is no recognized cause. This group also includes those with congenital heart conditions like a ventricular or atrial septal defect i.e. a hole in the heart, a common birth defect, amongst several other congenital heart lesions.
Group 2: Conditions that affect the left side of the heart, such as mitral valve disease or heart failure with either preserved of reduced ejection fraction.
Group 3: From conditions that cause significant lung disease causing low oxygenation, such as advanced chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or interstitial lung disease (ILD)
Group 4: This arises from chronic thromboembolic lung disease (blood clots). Importantly, this can be curable. If you have this type of PH, your doctor will likely prescribe blood-thinning medicines. These medicines prevent clots from forming or getting larger. In addition, sometimes surgery can effectively remove scarring in the pulmonary arteries due to old blood clots.
Group 5: This includes a wide variety of diseases that can cause pulmonary hypertension including patients with kidney disease or certain blood disorders, to name a few conditions.
Potential Risk Factors
Although anyone can potentially develop pulmonary hypertension, older adults are more likely to suffer from secondary pulmonary hypertension, which refers to PH that is caused by another underlying medical problem. This type of pulmonary hypertension is more common than is idiopathic pulmonary hypertension.
On the other hand, young people more typically experience idiopathic pulmonary hypertension (IPH). IPH is also more common in women than it is in men and can be inherited.
If a family member develops idiopathic pulmonary hypertension and tests positive for a gene mutation that can cause the illness, your doctor or genetic counselor may recommend that other relatives be tested, as well.