ZocdocAnswersWhat is exercise-induced pulmonary hypertension?

Question

What is exercise-induced pulmonary hypertension?

I take my own blood pressure regularly, and after doing some research realized that going on a run or a brisk walk was raising up my blood pressure readings. The phrase I came across is 'exercise induced pulmonary hypertension'. How serious a problem is this? What should I do about it? Why does it happen?

Answer

I applaud your participation in your health care by taking your blood pressure regularly. I think I might be able to sort out this issue for you. The blood pressure you take at home is your systemic blood pressure which is normally about 120/80. It usually rises slightly during exercise because of increase in heart rate. This reaction is normal. Pulmonary hypertension is high blood pressure in the lungs. This blood pressure must be measured by invasive techniques ant thus it is not followed routinely in anyone that does not have symptoms of pulmonary hypertension. Exercise induced pulmonary hypertension is actually high blood pressure in the lungs which is unmasked by exercise. It is probably a very mild form of pulmonary hypertension which is not seen when people are at rest. Unless you have had a heart catheterization or an echocardiogram, there is no way that your pulmonary blood pressure has ever been measured. Thus, unless you have worrisome symptoms such as shortness of breath while walking, or edema, you probably do not need to have your pulmonary blood pressure checked. Only your doctor will be able to decide. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician so that he or she can explain this in more detail. Your doctor can take a history of you symptoms perform a thorough physical exam. Good luck and keep exercising.

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