Hypertension during pregnancy may put women at high risk of heart disease later


Pregnancy comes with its own set of problems for expecting mothers, one of them being hypertension or high blood pressure. Blood pressure that is 140/90 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) or greater – documented on two occasions, at least four hours apart – is abnormal and considered too high (hypertension) and requires close monitoring. There are two types of hypertension during pregnancy – Gestational hypertension and chronic hypertension. Women with gestational hypertension have high blood pressure that develops after 20 weeks of pregnancy, while chronic hypertension is high blood pressure that was present before pregnancy or that occurs before 20 weeks of pregnancy. Hypertension during pregnancy is a cause for concern, because if it continues, it can lead to preeclampsia and/or other complications. A new study has further warned to-be mothers that high blood pressure during pregnancy can also put mothers at an increased risk of heart disease later in life. “This study highlights the need for long-term follow-up of women with a history of hypertension during pregnancy to provide early management of risk factors for cardiovascular disease,” said Sonia Grandi, PhD candidate at McGill University in Canada. In the study, among 146,748 women with a first pregnancy and a follow-up of about four-and-a-half years, 997 were diagnosed with cardiovascular disease and 6,812 developed hypertension. Compared with women without high blood pressure during pregnancy, those with hypertension during pregnancy had a 2.2-times higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease and a 5.6-times higher risk of developing hypertension after pregnancy. Subsequent pregnancies did not appear to influence these associations, said Grandi, lead author of the study published in the journal Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology.


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