The official blog of the Lung Institute.
Over 50 million United States residents have hypertension, also known as high blood pressure. Out of those 50 million people, approximately 12.7 million were found to also have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) based on a 2011 study. Many don’t realize that chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and hypertension are two closely related health issues. These debilitating conditions have a major symptom overlap; as a result, it can be difficult to diagnose each condition individually. One of the most common symptoms is difficulty breathing. Most patients that suffer from COPD and/or hypertension are frequently restricted on the amount of exercise they can perform, the amount of stairs they can climb and the distance they can walk. These two conditions take a major toll on the body and highly affect a patient’s daily life.
The Connection of COPD and Hypertension
Shortness of Breath
COPD is directly related to lung damage. When the body takes longer to perform the inhalation-exhalation process, it causes air to start coming in before air from the last breath has been exhaled. When this occurs, it results in shortness of breath and potentially hyperventilation. In contrast, hypertension is associated with issues related to the heart. This health issue affects the way blood is pumped throughout the body. When a person is in motion, blood flow is expected to increase, and the heart must pump harder and faster. If the heart is unable to keep up with the sufferer’s actions, blood “backs up” into the lungs. The blood flow backing up into the lungs is what causes shortness of breath.
When a patient has COPD, his or her body wants to produce more red blood cells, which results in the thickening of his or her blood. Hypertension causes arteries to become weaker. When a person’s arteries are weakened, yet his or her blood is thicker than usual, it triggers the need for more oxygen. The lungs, however, have been damaged and cannot keep up. Although both issues affect two different organs in the body, both illnesses overlap with one another and are frequently diagnosed together.
Getting Help with these Conditions
Having both of these illness together is not uncommon. Oftentimes, a patient is diagnosed with either condition and is then later diagnosed with the other. This occurs because of the strong connection between these disorders. Luckily, because of today’s growth in technology, both of these conditions can be treated. Hypertension can be treated with specific medication and some simple lifestyle modifications. While COPD is incurable, new medical advancements like stem cell therapy can help sufferers breathe easier. If you or someone you know suffers from COPD and are interested in learning more about stem cell therapy, contact one of our patient coordinators today at (800) 729-3065 to schedule a free consultation.