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What is the cause of sudden breathlessness in hypertension?

Q: My father recently had a problem with breathing. He had a growing pain from his shoulders and was feeling as though someone was choking his lungs. The blood pressure during this time was abnormally high - around 240. The doctors then gave him pills to reduce his pressure and he was fine after that. He suffered for around 2 hours. The ECGs taken during this timed showed no symptoms of a heart condition. And he does not have a heart problem till now. What do these symptoms signify, what is he suffering from and how does he ensure that in future if he gets breathless like this, he doesn't get into a fatal condition?

A:Patients with high blood pressure can go into heart failure and present with flash pulmonary edoema. Thus, their lungs can suddenly flood with fluid, and this causes severe breathlessness. The acute problem can quickly respond to treatment. However, there is usually some underlying heart disease, and a clue to this can be found by doing an exercise tolerance test in a laboratory with ECG monitoring. An echocardiogram might also define cardiac performance, and help determine if cardiac (as well as hypertension) medications are needed.

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