Heart disease, preeclampsia linked
A NEW study has found that preeclampsia in pregnant women may permanently alter blood vessels, increasing a lifelong risk of cardiovascular disease.
The study by Penn State researchers compared women who had had healthy pregnancies to those who suffered preeclampsia during their pregnancies.
Preeclampsia is a pregnancy complication that causes high blood pressure and can lead to kidney damage, among others.
Researchers found that blood vessels of women who suffered preeclampsia functioned differently to those of women who had healthy pregnancies.
“We were able to show that even though the symptoms of preeclampsia go away once the woman gives birth, there’s still an underlying dysfunction in the blood vessels. This suggests that something happens during a preeclamptic pregnancy that permanently changes the way blood vessels function,” post-doctoral fellow in the College of Health and Human Development Anna Stanhewicz said.
The study is the first to look at the effects of preeclampsia on human blood vessels after previous research looked at mice and rats.
“We wanted to see if vessel dysfunction does in fact still occur after pregnancy. If we compare how well the blood vessels are functioning in women that had preeclampsia to women who had a healthy pregnancy, do we see a difference and also, if we can see a difference, what is contributing to that?”
A total of 24 participants took part in the study.
The World Health Organisation has said over 800 women die from pregnancy or childbirth related complications around the world. – 701478