Struggling just to take a normal breath is probably something you don’t worry too much about. In fact, most people take their breathing for granted and don’t put much thought into just how much our lungs keep us moving. Now ask someone who suffers from a lung disease on how they feel about breathing and you are bound to get a completely different story. A lung disease is any problem in or affecting the lungs that prevents these vital organs from working properly. There are a number of lung diseases that inhibit a person from breathing normally, like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). One such disease is pulmonary vascular disease. What exactly is pulmonary vascular disease you ask?
What is Pulmonary Vascular Disease?
The medical term for pulmonary vascular disease is actually pretty simple: any condition that affects the blood vessels in or around the lungs. In a continuous cycle, blood flows from our heart to the lungs and back again. This process allows much needed oxygen to reach our entire body. Now imagine if this process was restricted or somehow was forced to slow down. Pulmonary vascular disease actually includes a number of conditions. These diseases can cause severe breathlessness and limit a patient’s ability to live an active life.
What Types of Pulmonary Vascular Disease Are There?
According to the American Lung Association, there are a number of conditions that are included with pulmonary vascular disease. All of these conditions can affect the blood circulation within the lungs. Here are some of those conditions:
- Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension – This is increased blood pressure within the arteries of the lungs. It can be caused by lung disease, autoimmune disease or in some cases heart failure.
- Pulmonary Venous Hypertension – This is increased blood pressure in the veins. Like pulmonary arterial hypertension, this disease can be caused by lung disease, autoimmune disease or in some cases heart failure. If there is a damaged valve within the heart, this can cause the pulmonary venous hypertension to occur.
- Pulmonary Embolism – A pulmonary embolism or more commonly called a blood clot can have a dramatic impact on the lungs. A blood clot occurs when it breaks away from the vein and travels to the heart. This creates complications for the heart and lungs to work together for much needed oxygen.
- Chronic Thromboembolic Disease – In this rare condition, a blood clot to the lungs is never reabsorbed by the body and multiplies into small diseased blood vessels that can attack the lungs.
How is it Treated?
Pulmonary vascular disease can be severe and difficult to treat. Depending upon the severity of the condition, treatment will vary. In a study from the American Journal of Cardiology, 200 patients were treated to see how each patient was affected differently by treatment. Researchers found that a majority of the patients responded to earlier treatment and were able to breathe easier with the right course of treatment. Often therapeutic options include leading-edge medical treatments and in some cases, advanced surgical therapies such as a lung transplant. If you have questions about this condition or any other lung disease, try talking to your doctor or do some research online about the condition. If you would like to find out more about our available treatment options, please contact one of our patient care coordinators today at (800) 729-3065 to schedule a free consultation. *Please note that not all lung conditions mentioned in this article are treated by the Lung Institute.