Pre-Eclampsia During Pregnancy Could Indicate Future Heart Disease Risk, Studies Say

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Women who experience pre-eclampsia during pregnancy have more heart attacks, strokes and blood clots later in life than women without the condition, according to several studies, the New York Times reports ... Researchers do not know what causes the condition, which is marked by high blood pressure, protein in the urine, severe swelling, headaches and vision problems. Although pre-eclampsia usually disappears soon after delivery, a "growing body of evidence" indicates that women who develop pre-eclampsia have twice the risk of having a heart attack or stroke later in life, the Times reports.

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According to the Times, most researchers do not believe that pre-eclampsia directly increases the risk of heart disease. Smith said that it seems more likely that the condition is an early indicator of the health of a woman's heart ... Williams now advises women with pre-eclampsia to have frequent screenings for cholesterol levels, blood sugar and blood pressure, and to seek treatment if the levels are high.

- This seems similar to gestational diabetes, which, rather than being a disease in its own right, is more a marker for the development of later-onset type 2 diabates.

Melissa Maimann, Essential Birth Consulting.