Hormone may help reverse serious pulmonary condition

September 16th, 2011 - 5:12 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Sep 16 (IANS) The hormone estrogen may help reverse pulmonary hypertension, which mainly affects women, research shows.

It is a rare and serious condition that causes a progressive increase in blood pressure (BP) in the main pulmonary artery and delivers blood to the lungs.

Current medication only temporarily reduces the disease’s severity. For advanced pulmonary hypertension (PH), the condition often necessitates a lung transplant.

“Unfortunately, there hasn’t been an ideal pharmacological therapy to treat advanced pulmonary hypertension,” said study author Mansoureh Eghbali, assistant professor of anesthesiology at the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA).

The rise in pressure enlarges the right ventricle, potentially leading to heart failure, the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine reports.

PH progresses slowly, so most patients don’t seek treatment until major symptoms occur, such as shortness of breath, dizziness and fainting, according to an UCLA statement.

The UCLA team found that by treating affected rats with low doses of estrogen, they were able to prevent the disease from progressing to right-ventricular heart failure; this did not happen in untreated rats.

Tests showed that lung weight, which can increase with the disease and result heart-ventricle enlargement, was also corrected. After 10 days of treatment, function returned to an almost normal state.

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