6 times higher health risk with pre-eclampsia

February 16, 2009


New research is pointing up future problems for women who have pre-eclampsia – a condition where elevated high blood pressure is brought on by their pregnancy. It can occur in 5% to 7% of all pregnancies and now it seems these women run an increased risk of both heart problems and diabetes in the future.

The study was done at the University of Copenhagen, and reported at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine in the USA. It found that women who had severe pre-eclampsia were more than six times more likely to develop chronic hypertension compared with women with uncomplicated pregnancies and also at higher risk for type 2 diabetes. It seems the risk is increased for women with pre-eclampsia who had premature or smaller babies, as well as in those who had pre-clampsia in two pregnancies.

The study of over 78,000 women who were previously free of any heart condition or diabetes, is intended to be an early warning system for women and their doctors to assess their risk. A woman who has had pre-eclampsia can use this information to monitor her health and be alert to take effective early action if any symptoms of high blood pressure or diabetes occur. It is also helpful to be aware of these risks if future medication will include hormonal treatments of any kind such as the contraceptive pill.


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