Shortness of breath, fatigue, dizziness or fainting, chest pressure, and swelling in the ankles and legs are some of the symptoms of both secondary and idiopathic pulmonary hypertension, notes Mayo Clinic. Secondary pulmonary hypertension is caused by another medical problem, which distinguishes it from idiopathic pulmonary hypertension, for which doctors cannot pinpoint a cause.
Pulmonary hypertension is a rise in blood pressure in the lungs due to changes in the cells lining the pulmonary arteries that pump blood to and from the lungs, states Mayo Clinic. Secondary pulmonary hypertension is more common than idiopathic, though older people are more likely to suffer from the secondary type of the condition than younger people. Chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, cirrhosis, AIDS, lungs diseases and blood clots in the lungs are some of the causes of secondary pulmonary hypertension.
People with pulmonary hypertension are at risk of developing complications such as right-sided heart failure, blood clots, arrhythmia and bleeding, notes Mayo Clinic. Because the symptoms of secondary and idiopathic pulmonary hypertension are similar to those of other heart and lung problems, they are difficult for doctors to diagnose. They may rule out other conditions through blood tests, X-rays, Doppler echocardiograms that allow them to see the heart without making incisions, or right-heart catheritization, which is the most reliable way to diagnose pulmonary hypertension.