Home Heart Healthy Diet High blood pressure in pregnancy increases risk of stroke or heart attack in later life

High blood pressure in pregnancy increases risk of stroke or heart attack in later life

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They are also more likely to suffer diabetes and high cholesterol as they get older.

A study of almost 60,000 women found they had a two to threefold increased rate of high blood pressure later in life.

Cases of type 2 diabetes - the form linked to obesity - rose by 70 per cent and high cholesterol by 30 per cent.

These cardiovascular disease risk factors also developed at younger ages and sooner after pregnancy.

The relative risk of developing high blood pressure was strongest within five years after first birth - and the increased risk persisted for several decades.

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The study published in Annals of Internal Medicine suggests those struck by the common complication should have their cardiovascular health regularly screened.

They should also be encouraged to adopt healthy lifestyles - such as eating plenty of fruit and vegetables and taking regular exercise.

The findings also applied to mothers who are affected by potentially life-threatening pre-eclampsia which is characterised by hypertension, or high blood pressure.

Dr Jennifer Stuart, of Brigham and Women's Hospital and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, said pre-eclampsia and gestational hypertension can alert women and their doctors about their future cardiovascular health.

In addition to screening, women who have had these common pregnancy complications should tell their doctor and adopt a hearthealthy diet and lifestyle, just as they would if they had a family history of cardiovascular disease.

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Women who develop high blood pressure during pregnancy are more at risk of strokes and heart attacks

She said: "Pre-eclampsia and gestational hypertension are common pregnancy complications that can alert women and their healthcare providers about their future cardiovascular health.

"Women who experience pre-eclampsia or gestational hypertension should tell their doctor and adopt a heart healthy diet and lifestyle - just like they would if they had a family history of cardiovascular disease - to reduce cardiovascular risk and delay disease onset."

Up to one-in-seven women have high blood pressure during pregnancy. It should return to normal after the baby is born.

But previous studies have shown these women are more likely to have a heart attack or stroke later in life compared to those whose blood pressure stays the same during pregnancy.

What is less clear is to what extent they are more likely to develop cardiovascular disease risk factors - knowledge critical to inform screening guidelines.

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Pre-eclampsia symptoms include headaches, blurred vision and shortness of breath

So Dr Stuart and colleagues followed almost 60,000 women from the Nurses' Health Study II who had given birth at least once for an average of 25 to 32 years after the first pregnancy.

Some were followed for up to 50 years.

They measured how often and when those with hypertension or pre-eclampsia during pregnancy developed high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol afterwards.

Women with high blood pressure during more than one pregnancy were even more likely to develop high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol.

The relationships observed between pre-eclampsia and gestational hypertension with cardiovascular disease risk factors were not explained by shared risk factors such as pre-pregnancy body mass index, smoking, or family history.

Dr Stuart said: "As recommended by the American Heart Association, doctors should obtain a detailed history of pregnancy complications from their patients and screen women who had high blood pressure in pregnancy at regular intervals after pregnancy for cardiovascular disease risk factors."

High blood pressure risk factors

Thu, June 8, 2017

High blood pressure: Here are the risk factors you should be aware of.


High blood pressure risk factors

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High blood pressure risk factors

Between 10 to 15 per cent of women experience hypertensive complications during pregnancy, such as pre-eclampsia or gestational high blood pressure.

Pre-eclampsia affects about 3.4 per cent of pregnancies. In rare cases it can be fatal for mother or child.

High blood pressure is a common and dangerous condition that increases the risk for heart disease and stroke, two of the leading causes of death across the world.

Symptoms with mild pre-eclampsia include high blood pressure, water retention and high levels of protein in the urine.

Signs of severe pre-eclampsia include headaches, blurred vision, shortness of breath and pain in the right abdomen.

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Pain in the abdomen is also a sign of pre-eclampsia

Previous research has shown women with severe pre-eclampsia are seven times more likely to develop cardiovascular disease compared to women with normal blood pressure during pregnancy.

There's no way to cure pre-eclampsia and many experts aren't sure why the condition develops in the first place.

Hypertension charity Blood Pressure UK says high blood pressure in pregnancy can be successfully treated with lifestyle changes such as healthy eating and being more active.

High blood pressure in a previous pregnancy does not mean that you will have it again in a later pregnancy, but you will have a slightly higher chance of developing it than other women.

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