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Chronic lung diseases that lead to Cor Pulmonale
Chronic lung diseases and disorders that cause an acute shortage of oxygen in the blood can lead to Cor Pulmonale (Emmanuel, 2003). Some of these chronic lung diseases may include cystic fibrosis, obstructive sleep apnea, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and chronic blood clots, especially in the lungs. Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition characterized by pauses in breathing due to inflammation of the air cavities in the respiratory system. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease refers to a lung condition associated with difficulty to exhale normally, that causes a problem in breathing. Cystic fibrosis refers to a genetic condition associated with poor removal of mucus from bronchi (Lee-Chiong & Matthay, 2003).
Definition of the pulmonary hypertension
Pulmonary hypertension can be described as an increase in the average pulmonary arterial pressure. Pulmonary arterial hypertension can be considered as a medical condition characterized by the availability of precapillary PH in the absence of other related causes of precapillary PH (Lee-Chiong & Matthay, 2003). On the other hand, Cor Pulmonale can be defined as the failure of the right-hand side of the heart and is normally caused by high blood pressure in the arteries found in the lungs and right ventricles of the heart. It can also be described as the impairment of the right ventricular function due to respiratory diseases causing high resistance to blood flow in the pulmonary circulation (Emmanuel, 2003).
Why low oxygen-level put stress on the right side of the heart
Studies have shown that Cor Pulmonale is associated with high blood pressure in the arteries over an extended period. The condition is referred to as pulmonary hypertension. The right-hand side of the heart usually faces a rough time in trying to function normally due to low oxygen level. Low oxygen level is brought about by high blood pressure since less blood reaches the lungs to pick up oxygen. If this problem persists for a certain period, it puts pressure on the right-hand side of the heart causing Cor Pulmonale (Emmanuel, 2003).
Diagnosis of Cor Pulmonale
Cor Pulmonale can be diagnosed by carrying out medical testing and physical examination. Physical examination is done by checking fluid retention, abnormal heart beats and nature of neck veins for instance if it is protruding. The examining doctor can also be forced to perform a blood test to check on the antibody levels. Also, the brain natriuretic peptide examination can be done. Brain natriuretic refers to the amino acid generated from the heart and can also be released from the heart under stressful conditions. Testing may include a lung scan, CT scan, lung function test, chest X-ray among other examinations. In rare situations, patients may also be required to undergo a lung biopsy test to check if there is underlying tissue damage (Emmanuel, 2003).
Symptoms associated with Cor Pulmonale
There are several symptoms that are associated with the Cor Pulmonale disorder. The first symptoms are light-headedness or shortness of breath when an individual is performing a given activity. An individual will experience a fast heartbeat, and it is normally characterized by a pounding of the heart. Over a given period, the disorder will continue to worsen, and symptoms will be experienced even with lighter activity or when the individual is at rest. Some of the most common symptoms may include chest discomfort, normally in the front part of the chest, unusual chest pains, swelling of the body parts usually ankles or the feet, and fainting spells when an individual is involved in an activity. In additions, symptoms of underlying disorders which may include coughing and wheezing (Emmanuel, 2003).
Treatment options for Cor Pulmonale
According to research, some treatment options for Cor Pulmonale are available. The main objective of treatment is to control the symptoms associated with this condition. It is imperative to treat various exposing factors that may cause pulmonary hypertension (Lee-Chiong & Matthay, 2003). The first step in treating Cor Pulmonale is to treat the underlying causes of pulmonary hypertension. Prescribed medications will promote oxygen flow in and out of the lungs and can help in reducing blood pressure. The doctor or the physician will determine the best medicine available to the patient. The prescribed medicine may be received using inhaling or intravenous injection. It can also be taken orally. Patients should be put under some close monitoring to watch the resulting side effects and to see how they are responding to the medication. Diuretics can also be used to remove fluid retention and maintain the amount of sodium in blood at normal levels. Patients suffering from the disorder can also be given blood thinners to avert blood clots. In some situations where the disorder is at an advanced stage, this may call for aggressive treatments options such as lung or heart transplant. Another recommended treatment option can be oxygen therapy for the patients. Once an individual has been diagnosed with the disorder, there are some things one need to observe. Some of these tips include avoiding pregnancy, avoiding traveling to high altitude places, avoid smoking and avoiding strenuous task among others (Emmanuel, 2003).
In conclusion, the Cor Pulmonale disorder is a serious medical condition that should be controlled by avoiding the related chronic lung diseases. Individuals should take note of the various predisposing factors that may lead to Cor Pulmonale. Patients diagnosed with the disorder should take their medications seriously to avoid further complications associated with it.
Emmanuel, W. (2003). Chronic cor pulmonale. Heart, 225-30.
Lee-Chiong, J. T., & Matthay, R. A. (2003). Pulmonary hypertension and cor pulmonale in COPD. Semin Respir Crit Care Med, 24 (3): 263-72.
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