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Hypertension in Pregnancy Leads to High Future Risk of High Blood Pressure, Stroke: Presented at ASN
The risk of a woman developing high blood pressure relatively early in life may be increased if that woman was hypertensive during pregnancy, researchers said here at the 39th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Nephrology (ASN).

Doctors report that they have found a link between high blood pressure -- including preeclampsia -- during pregnancy not only with raised blood pressure in the early 50s, but a greater risk of stroke and cardiovascular events than occurs in women who do not have hypertension during pregnancy.

"For many years it has been assumed that hypertension associated with pregnancy went away at childbirth and did not have a lot of long-term consequences," said Vesna Garovic, MD, assistant professor of medicine, Mayo School of Medicine, Rochester, Minnesota, in her oral presentation on November 16th.

"What we have found is that 50% of women who have hypertension during pregnancy will develop high blood pressure by the time they are age 52," Dr. Garovic said. In contrast, she said, generally, women who were not hypertensive in pregnancy do not develop hypertension until age 60.

Dr. Garovic identified 4,782 women from individuals who participated in the Family Blood Pressure Program (2000-2005) in which 2 or more siblings developed high blood pressure before age 60. She then reviewed the medical records of these women, specifically scrutinizing their health during pregnancy.

In this group of women with a family history of hypertension, 643 (13.5%) were hypertensive during their pregnancies. "In general," she said, "we believe that about 10% of women become hypertensive when they are pregnant."

When she looked at other health statistics, she found:

  • The risk of having a stroke in later life was 2.7% compared in woman who were normotensive during pregnancy and 5.2% for women who had hypertension during pregnancy. That difference was statistically significant at the P = .003 level.
  • The risk of coronary heart disease for the women with normotensive pregnancies was 5.4% compared with 6.8% for women who were hypertensive in pregnancy (P = .049).
  • The risk of hypertension later in life for women with normotensive pregnancies was 56.9% compared with 60.6% for women who were hypertensive in pregnancy (P < .001).

   

Source: Ed Susman SAN DIEGO, CA

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