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Study Links Middle Age Cardiovascular Disease To Complications During Pregnancy

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Study Links Middle Age Cardiovascular Disease To Complications During Pregnancy

Results of a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association highlights that women with gestational hypertension or diabetes are at a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease later in life.

Abigail Fraser, M.P.H., Ph.D., School of Social and Community Medicine at the University of Bristol, United Kingdom, underlined that it is important for women with pregnancy complications to seek medical help and to adopt a heathy lifestyle in order not to develop cardiovascular disease later in life. She also pointed that pregnancy could be an opportunity to recognize women who might develop heart disease. If medical staff would be aware of this risk, the cardiovascular disease could be successfully prevented.

Pregnancy Altrasound

Pregnancy Altrasound

Gestational hypertension, or preeclampsia, is a pregnancy complication that occurs develops from 20 weeks gestation. Although it’s  cause is not well understood, it seems that there is an endothelial dysfunction in the maternal blood vessels. The main symptoms are headache, epigastric pain, visual disturbances and bleeding. Preeclampsia is associated with HELLP syndrome, that is hemolysis, hepatic enzymes elevated and low platelets. The final stage of preeclampsia is eclampsia, which occurs when besides hypertension associates seizures.

Although preeclampsia develops during pregnancy, it can also appear postpartum. Recent studies have showed that the number of antepartum preeclampsia have reduced, while the incidence of postpartum have increased. This shift is probably due to the fact that on one hand, it could be a later manifestation of the disease, and on the other hand, the medical professionals are not aware of the potential risk of developing postpartum preeclampsia.

The study, conducted on 3.146 pregnant women, revealed that women with preeclampsia and/or gestational diabetes are at higher risk of heart disease. Moreover, pregnancy complications have been correlated with higher levels of glucose and insulin. Thus, patients with preeclampsia weremore probably overweight and had elevated cholesterol.

The researchers also calculated the patient’s odd of developing cardiovascular disease in the nest 10 years by using CVD Framingham risk score, that is the scientists measured parameters such as age, total and HDL cholesterol, systolic blood pressure, diabetes and smoking status.