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Pulmonary Hypertension: What Do Women Need To Know?

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Dr. Skloven shares everything a woman may need to know about pulmonary hypertension. Dr. Skloven attended medical school at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, graduating Cum Laude, and now treats patients at Banner Heart Hospital in Mesa, Arizona.

Dr. Skloven
Pulmonary hypertension is an abnormality of the blood vessels, particularly the arteries, the arterials, which are the smaller vessels beyond the arteries in the lungs. Hypertension means high pressure and this is a disease where the pressure in those vessels is elevated. It is more common in women, particularly certain kinds of pulmonary hypertension.

25 or 30 years ago pulmonary hypertension was basically divided into what we called idiopathic or pulmonary hypertension of unknown cause, and secondary hypertension, pulmonary hypertension which is pulmonary hypertension due to some other disease state.

Over the past 20 or 30 years there has been an enormous amount of knowledge gained about this disease and one of the important things for women to know is it is a much more prevalent disease, particularly certain aspects of it in women as opposed to men.

Women are more prone to what we call connective tissue diseases and these are diseases like lupus, like scleroderma, like something called Sjogren’s syndrome all of which can cause pulmonary hypertension.

Why are women more prone to get this disease? We don’t really know but we do know that this disease is frequently associated with other diseases that are more common to women such as systemic lupus, a disease called Sjogren’s syndrome, which is a thickening of the tissues in the body and to other what we call collagen vascular diseases and these are problems that are seen much more frequently in women than in men.

Women, seem for reasons that we’re not really clear about yet to be much more susceptible to a disease called primary pulmonary hypertension. This is pulmonary hypertension with no observable, no other causes of disease in and of itself and women … this is seen much more frequently in women than in men.

There was an epidemic of pulmonary hypertension in Switzerland about 15 to 20 years ago when many women in Europe were using certain kinds of diet drugs. Fen-Phen was one of the offenders and this was found to be a cause of pulmonary hypertension.

There’s another form of pulmonary hypertension that is again, much more common in women. It’s called thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension and this is a form of pulmonary hypertension caused by recurrent showers of blood clots that get impacted in the vessels in the lungs and basically clogs them up over time.

Why women are more susceptible to this? Childbirth and pregnancy is a common cause of silent blood clots in the legs. It can break loose and cause the showers of clots into the lungs. Women tend to be more prone to severe varicose veins, which are also a source of these blood clots or these thromboemboli, so, again, not only primary pulmonary hypertension, but secondary pulmonary hypertension due to certain drugs that are no longer available such as Fen-Phen or due to complications of pregnancy are more specific to women.

About Dr. Z. David Skloven, M.D.:
Dr. Skloven is an Interventional Cardiologist at Banner Heart Hospital in Mesa, Ariz. After graduating from Cornell University with a Bachelor of Arts degree with Honors in Chemistry. Dr. Skloven attended medical school at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, graduating Cum Laude . He did both his internship and first year residency at Cornell University Hospitals in New York City. His second year residency was at the University of California in San Francisco. Dr. Skloven was a Cardiology Fellow under Dr. Eugene Braunwald from 1970 to 1972 in San Diego, California and then spent a year as Director of the La Jolla V.A. Hospital Cardiac Catheterization Lab.

Conditions: Pulmonary Hypertension, High Blood Pressure, Blod Clots, Heart Failure, Valvular Heart Disease

Related Terms: Pulmonary Embolism, Blood Vessel Abnormality, Sjogren's Syndrome, Connective Tissue Disease, Emphysema, COPD, Bronchitis, Leaky Mitral Valve, Echocardiogram, Heart Catheterization, Fen-Phen

Expert: Dr. Z. David Skloven, David Skloven, M.D., Doctor Z David Skloven, Heart Expert Dr. Skloven, Women's Heart Health Specialist Z. David Skloven, M.D.

Expertise: Heart Disease Disease, Heart Disease Risks, Heart Disease Management, Heart Disease Prevention, Blood Pressure Testing, Coronary Artery Disease, Interventional Cardiology, Increased Blood Pressure

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