Two research groups presented studies at the American Society of Nephrology’s Kidney Week. The two studies investigated the short and long-term effects of preeclampsia and high blood pressure during pregnancy. According to the study, not only do women have to worry about preeclampsia during pregnancy, but the effects of increased blood pressure during pregnancy on health for many years to come.

Hypertension PregnancyThe first study investigated just more than 300 pregnant women. About 15 of the women developed preeclampsia and another 15 developed high blood pressure. The women in the high blood pressure group did not develop preeclampsia. According to the study, women tested for shedding kidney cells in mid-pregnancy, tested positive in every cases where preeclampsia later developed. The women in the high blood pressure and normal pregnancy groups did not test positive. This proves the test is highly valuable for use as a predictive measure to help the attending physician prepare for preeclampsia.

In another study, researchers looked at health records for more than 6,000 pregnancies between 1976 and 1982. Just more than 600 cases of high blood pressure were noted in the study. When the pregnant women reached 40 years of age, the high blood pressure group was at increased risk for kidney disease, stroke and high blood pressure. In the case of high blood pressure, women with high blood pressure during pregnancy were nearly twice as likely to develop high blood pressure later in life.

While not all cases of preeclampsia and high blood pressure can be prevented during pregnancy, it is important for family physicians and doctors to understand the future risk factors associated with these conditions. If women suffer preeclampsia or high blood pressure during pregnancy, there is an increased chance she will suffer high blood pressure as she ages. Furthermore, she is at increased risk for cardiovascular disorders and kidney disease.

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Source: Steven Wagner, MD, Iasmina Craici, MD, Juan C. Calle, MD, Christina Wood-Wentz, Kent R. Bailey, PhD, Stephen T. Turner, MD, Joseph P. Grande, MD, PhD and Vesna D. Garovic, MD. American Society of Nephrology. 14 November, 2011.