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Women at Higher Risk for Pulmonary Hypertension

They are 4 times more apt to develop the lung artery disorder, study shows

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Women are four times more likely to develop a debilitating and potentially lethal lung disorder known as pulmonary hypertension, a new study shows.

Pulmonary hypertension is caused by high blood pressure in the arteries that supply the lungs with blood. People who suffer from the condition can become tired, dizzy and short of breath, because the arteries feeding the lungs constrict and reduce the supply of oxygenated blood being circulating throughout the body.

The new study was led by Dr. Adaani E. Frost from the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. He and his colleagues compared data from the REVEAL registry, which includes more than 2,300 patients, against data from the U.S. National Institutes of Health, a French registry and another large U.S. registry from one medical center.

They found that, among people in the United States, pulmonary hypertension affects four times more women than men. It is also more likely to strike those aged 48 and older.

And although there is more awareness among doctors of pulmonary hypertension, the time frame from when symptoms first develop to diagnosis has actually increased by 10 months, Frost's team found.

"The huge REVEAL database clearly demonstrates changes in the pulmonary hypertension demographic characteristics since the original NIH registry, indicating older presentation and striking female preponderance. Diagnosis is not occurring earlier, in spite of increased awareness of the disease," the researchers conclude. "Efforts must be made to decrease delays between onset of symptoms and diagnosis of pulmonary hypertension."

The research was to be presented Wednesday at the American College of Chest Physicians annual meeting, in Philadelphia.

More information

For details on the condition, visit the Pulmonary Hypertension Association.

-- E.J. Mundell

SOURCE: Oct. 29, 2008, presentation, American College of Chest Physicians annual meeting, Philadelphia

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