Consequences of preeclampsia

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The American Society of Nephrology’s Annual Kidney Week had two interesting presentations from the Mayo Clinic on high blood pressure during pregnancy. The first study, from Vesna Garovic, MD and her team, examined the potential of a test taken mid-pregnancy to predict when women will later develop preeclampsia. Preeclampsia is a late pregnancy disorder that is characterized by high blood pressure and excess protein in the urine. It affects 3-5% of all pregnancies. If it is undetected and untreated, it can lead to serious, often fatal, complications for the unborn baby and the mother.

In the study, a group of 315 patients produced 15 cases of preeclampsia and another 15 developed high blood pressure without preeclampsia during their pregnancies. All of the women who developed preeclampsia tested positive in med-pregnancy for a test that detects sloughed off kidney cells (podocytes) in the urine. None of those with high blood pressure alone tested positive and neither did the women without blood pressure issues and normally developing pregnancies. Therefore, the test is highly accurate for detecting preeclampsia.

The other research conducted by Dr. Garovic was to look at the long term effect of developing high blood pressure during pregnancy. His team found women who had high blood pressure between 1976 and 1982. He compared the present health histories of those women who developed the condition during pregnancy and those who did not. The women who developed high blood pressure during pregnancy were significantly more likely to experience continued high blood pressure, kidney disease, and strokes than the women who did not.

“Studies of the associations of hypertensive pregnancy disorders with maternal risks for future cardiovascular disease could lead to new guidelines for screening and treatment of women at risk, with the ultimate goal of improving cardiovascular health in women,” said Dr. Garovic.

Source: MedicalNewsToday, American Society of Nephrology


 
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