Do I Have High Blood Pressure in My Lungs?

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This information has been reviewed and approved by M. Patricia George, MD (January 2020).


Do I Have High Blood Pressure in My Lungs?

High blood pressure in the lungs is called pulmonary hypertension (PH).

PH can affect your ability to do daily chores, physical activities, sleep, thought and more.

Untreated, PH can lead to right heart failure and death.


Common Symptoms

  • Fatigue
  • Palpitations
  • Low oxygen levels
  • Chest pain or pressure
  • Near-fainting/fainting
  • Swelling of the ankles or abdomen
  • Heart failure (in advanced cases)
  • Shortness of breath, especially with exertion

If you have a family member with PH or if you experience symptoms that are not explained by other diseases, contact a pulmonary hypertension specialist for evaluation.



PH mimics other diseases and often goes undiagnosed.

Additional tests may be needed to confirm your diagnosis. Here are the most common diagnostic tests for PH:

  • Echocardiogram
  • Heart Catheterization


The 5 Types of PH

Types of PH Are Grouped by Cause

The World Health Organization (WHO) initially named the groups, so they are called WHO Groups.

Group Name Causes
Group 1
Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH) Stiffness, narrowing or scarring of the pulmonary arteries
Group 2
PH due to Left Heart Disease Left side of the heart does not pump correctly
Group 3
PH due to Chronic Lung Disease and Hypoxia 
Shortage of oxygen
Group 4
PH due to Chronic Arterial Obstructions (blood clots) Blood clots blocking pulmonary arteries
​Group 5
PH from Unknown Causes Not well understood.

Most Patients Have PH Due to Left Heart Disease

Group 2 Left Heart Disease
Groups 2 & 3 Left Heart & Lung Disease
Group 1 Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH)
Group 3 Chronic Lung Disease & Hypoxia
Group 4 Chronic Arterial Obstructions (blood clots)
Groups 2, 3 & 4 Left Heart Disease, Lung Disease & Blood Clots
Groups 2 & 4
Left Heart Disease & Blood Clots
Groups 3 & 4
Lung Disease & Blood Clots
  • Living above 8,200 feet elevation increases risk of Group 3 PH
  • Females develop PAH 2-3X more often than males

46% of PAH cases are from unknown causes

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