Have you ever been pregnant and suffered from preeclampsia or do you know someone who has? If so, you need to pay attention to this. Preeclampsia is basically high blood pressure suffered during pregnancy. If left untreated, it can lead to eclampsia, which results in seizures or a coma that could harm either the mother or her unborn child.
For a while, doctors believed that preeclampsia was just an independent condition that didn’t have anything to do with other cardiovascular factors. While it’s true that this condition can set in despite a totally clean bill of health before pregnancy, it’s also true that preeclampsia could affect your future health as well.
An article published in the September 2005 issue of The Lancet reviewed the evidence from a variety of studies on preeclampsia. The author found that although some doctors choose to ignore the link, there has been sufficient evidence showing that women who suffer from high blood pressure during pregnancy are prone to experiencing heart problems later in life.
It seemed that preeclampsia became a factor whether the condition occurred once or several times — and even if it only occurred during the first pregnancy. It seems women who experience any level of preeclampsia are more likely to suffer heart disease later in life.
With this knowledge, you can help evaluate your risk of cardiovascular disease. Women who have experienced pre- eclampsia may want to pay more attention to their health and start getting tested for blood pressure and cholesterol more frequently. These women should also start taking action to improve their cardiovascular health even before warning signs appear. If action is taken, the risk of adverse effects or death from heart disease may be minimized in childbearing women.
Whether you’ve had preeclampsia or not, you should always keep up with your cardiovascular tests. Also, if you are pregnant — or planning on becoming pregnant — talk to your doctor about your heart health if you haven’t already done so.