Pulmonary hypertension occurs when the blood pressure in the pulmonary arteries, which carry oxygen and blood from the heart to the lungs, is much higher than normal.
Pulmonary hypertension usually occurs along with another disease or condition, such as pregnancy, heart and blood vessel diseases, lung diseases, liver diseases, sleep apnea, connective tissue diseases such as lupus and scleroderma, thyroid diseases, HIV infection, or use of certain diet medicines or illicit drugs.
In 2002, pulmonary hypertension led to 15,668 deaths and 260,000 hospital visits in the United States.
Pulmonary hypertension can affect men and women of all ages and racial/ethnic groups. However, the majority of people who have this condition are older women.