A systematic review of nine studies looked at the issue of hypertension in pregnancy and its relationship to future health events like stroke. The studies found that women who had the highest blood pressure readings during their pregnancy were more likely to suffer from stroke later in life.
“We’ve found that women who had high blood pressure during pregnancy could be at higher risk of stroke, particularly if they had pre-eclampsia, which is a more severe form of high blood pressure,” said one of the study’s authors, Dr. Aravind Ganesh. “The elevated risk of stroke could be as high as 40%.”
Most women are carefully monitored during their pregnancy for any changes in health status including blood pressure. However, during the post-partum period and beyond, most women are not followed up regarding any health complications. Hypertension during pregnancy occurs in two to three percent of all pregnancies.
Hypertension occurs in pregnancy because the blood volume increases as does body weight and this can lead to increases in blood pressure. Some women who are overweight before their pregnancy and gain a considerable amount of weight during their pregnancy may be at a higher risk of developing high blood pressure.
The reason that this study has shown a relationship between hypertension in pregnancy and stroke risk is fairly evident. Firstly, most women who develop a stroke later in life following episodes of high blood pressure probably have maintained other risk factors for stroke which commonly accompany high blood pressure. These could include high cholesterol, obesity, or overweight, high blood sugar, high levels of insulin, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, and elevated levels of inflammation.
“These women should be more closely followed for a re-emergence of hypertension, as well as for cholesterol, diabetes or other markers of increased risk of stroke,” noted Dr. Ganesh.
I could not agree more with Dr. Ganesh regarding this very important point. If you have high blood pressure during your pregnancy, especially if it is quite high, there may be a good chance that your risk factors will continue to extend into future years when serious diseases like stroke or heart disease can occur.
Proper medical follow up is recommended so any risk factors can be managed appropriately to prevent potential serious consequences. The easiest way to help yourself is to purchase a portable blood pressure monitor and record your blood pressure several times per day at rest.
Source(s) for Today’s Article:
“High blood pressure during pregnancy could eveate the risk of future stroke,” ScienceDaily web site, October 18, 2013; http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131018084521.htm