blood pressure during pregnancyResearchers in the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension at the Mayo Clinic recently published a study into the long-term effects of pregnancy hypertension on risk of peripheral artery disease. The study, published in the journal Atherosclerosis, showed a direct link between pregnancy hypertension and peripheral artery disease risk a decade after giving birth.

Researchers measured ABI (ankle-brachial index) in 144 women who had never given birth, 1,272 women who have given birth with no history of hypertension and 281 women with a history of hypertensive pregnancy. ABI less than 0.9 is indicative of peripheral artery disease.

Based on ABI testing, women with a history of hypertensive pregnancy could be more than two times more likely to suffer from peripheral artery disease 10 years or longer after giving birth. There was no difference between women who had no history of hypertension in pregnancy and women who had never given birth.

Source: Weissgerber TL, Turner ST, Bailey KR, Mosley TH Jr, Kardia SL, Wiste HJ, Miller VM, Kullo IJ, Garovic VD. Hypertension in pregnancy is a risk factor for peripheral arterial disease decades after pregnancy. Atherosclerosis. 2013 Apr 18. pii: S0021-9150(13)00252-9. doi: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2013.04.012.