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High BP During Pregnancy May Lead To A Higher Risk Of Heart Disease

Women without a history of cardiovascular events, who suffered from pre-eclampsia during their pregnancy, faced a higher risk of atherosclerosis during post-menopausal years.

High BP During Pregnancy May Lead To A Higher Risk Of Heart Disease

Pre-eclampsia is a potential complication in pregnancy

HIGHLIGHTS

  1. Pre-eclampsia is a condition of high-blood pressure risking heart disease
  2. It may pose a serious threat to the mother and the foetus
  3. AHA states pre-eclampsia as a factor for heart disease and stroke

Pre-eclampsia is a condition of high-blood pressure in pregnant women which poses a risk of heart disease later in life, shows a research. Researches at Mayo Clinic Minnesota have found that women with a history of this disease are more likely to suffer from atherosclerosis, a condition wherein the arteries become harder and narrower-at a later stage in life. Pre-eclampsia may start showing up in the 20th week of pregnancy and can either develop slowly or may occur suddenly. It is a serious complication in the pregnancy and may pose a serious threat to the mother and the foetus. Two to seven percent of the cases are affected by this complication.

Vesna Garovic from Mayo Clinic in the US said, "We've found that pre-eclampsia continues to follow mothers long after the birth of their child."

Garovic added to this, "The good news is that we can use these findings to apply earlier interventions for risk factors before cardiovascular disease presents."


Health records were taken from Rochester Epidemiology Project and the research team discovered that 40 post-menopausal women suffered from pre-eclampsia and the other 40 had a history of normal pregnancies.

Women without a history of cardiovascular events, who suffered from pre-eclampsia during their pregnancy, faced a higher risk of atherosclerosis during post-menopausal years.

"This makes pre-eclampsia a pregnancy complication that extends well beyond the pregnancy itself," says Prof Garovic.

Five to ten percent of women in Australia suffer from this condition which sums up to 30000 women each year. Given the condition in Australia, it is a matter of concern for them.

"Pregnancy is the ultimate stress test for the body. Basically when a woman's having a baby her blood volume increases by 30 to 50 per cent, her heart is working harder as the pregnancy advances so if there are any underlying issues they'll often appear or manifest in pregnancy," says Julie Anne Mitchell from the Australian Heart Foundation.

The American Heart Association has also stated pre-eclampsia as both a risk factor for heart disease and stroke.

Professor Dekker made his statement to this, "Our big query is; does the pre-eclampsia unmask the fact that you are at risk of these disorders anyway or does the pre-eclampsia have its own intrinsic add-on effect?"

Prof Dekker added, "The animal experience suggests that pre-eclampsia has a kind of second hit effect."

Ms Mitchell said that a woman who has had pre-eclampsia during pregnancy needs her blood pressure closely monitored post-pregnancy.

"The best that a GP or clinician can be doing now is to monitor those women on a regular basis," she added.



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