Preeclampsia is a major risk factor that influences long term health issues, including hypertension, in women, according to a new study conducted by researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev that has been published in the Journal of Maternal-Fetal and Neonatal Medicine.
Thousands of women and their babies die or get very sick from preeclampsia; it affects approximately 5 to 8 percent of all pregnancies. It is a rapidly progressive condition characterized by high blood pressure and the presence of protein in the urine, typically occurring after 20 weeks gestation and up to six weeks postpartum.
According to the study, the BGU researchers found patients with preeclampsia had significantly higher rates of chronic hypertension diagnosed after pregnancy. Patients with preeclampsia were also more likely to be hospitalized at least once. Exposed women had .28 hospitalization per patient rate, while the non-exposed patients had a lower .23 hospitalization per patient rate.
The study included women who gave birth between the years of 1988 to 1998, and had a follow-up until December 2009. It assessed 2,072 patients with mild or severe preeclampsia in one or more of their pregnancies, while the comparison group of 20,742 patients did not have preeclampsia. The study was conducted to evaluate long-term morbidity of patients with hypertensive disorders during pregnancy. Patients with chronic hypertension and pre-gestational diabetes before the pregnancy were excluded.