Primary Pulmonary Hypertension Can Be Caused By Appetite Suppressors


People who develop primary pulmonary hypertension should consider consulting with a drug injury lawyer right away. This condition has no cure, and doctors are still unclear what exactly causes the disease. In fact, this form of hypertension is also known as idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension, or IPAH, because it may occur in otherwise healthy people with no underlying heart or lung issues. IPAH is difficult to detect and can progress for years before PPH symptoms are severe enough to warrant a proper diagnosis.

IPAH is marked by elevated blood pressure in the vessels and arteries connecting the heart to the lungs. For unknown reasons, these vessels and arteries may constrict, making it more difficult for the heart to pump blood into the lungs. Over time, these vessels harden and thicken during a process known as fibrosis, and this increases blood pressure further. Eventually, the heart becomes enlarged and suffers right side failure, which often leads to death. Patients with IPAH have difficulty performing even routine physical activity and may require surgery to prevent a fatal heart attack. People who are suffering from the disease may be a victim of medical negligence, and should consider consulting with a drug injury lawyer. Every year, between 500 and 1,000 cases of IPAH are diagnosed, and the condition can affect anyone, though it is most common in women between 20 and 40 years old.

While the exact cause for the disease is unknown, doctors believe that there are a couple of risk factors. Appetite-suppressing medications containing fenfluramine or dexfenfluramine have been shown to increase the chances of developing PPH symptoms and the disease. A study by the World Health Organization confirmed this and has stated that these substances likely have a causative role in the development of IPAH. Some findings have suggested that taking fenfluramine or dexfenfluramine for more than three months can increase the risk of developing the disorder by 30 times. Recent genetic studies have shown that a significant number of people with IPAH may have a genetic defect responsible for the disorder.

To detect IPAH, a doctor needs to be extremely thorough and run several tests, including an EKG, pulmonary function tests and diagnostics that can rule out other diseases. The doctor also needs to take a detailed family medical history and look for genetic indicators. Failure to do so may be negligent, and a drug injury lawyer may be able to help in this case.

PPH symptoms start out relatively minor, and include shortness of breath, chest pain and elevated heart rate. As IPAH worsens, these complications will become more severe and more frequent. A patient may also suffer from bouts of fainting, dizziness, lightheadedness following physical activity, swelling in the extremities and bluish skin or lips. As soon as these complications are detected, a person needs to seek immediate medical help, as they can be fatal if ignored. Anyone who has been diagnosed with primary pulmonary hypertension should think about talking to a drug injury lawyer as soon as possible, as the victim may be eligible to receive compensation due to medical negligence caused by the doctor or a medication manufacturer.