A new discovery could help prevent complications for pregnant women with the medical problem known as preeclampsia. Preeclampsia typically develops after the 20th week of pregnancy and is characterized by high blood pressure, edema, and protein in the urine. In severe cases it can lead to eclampsia, where a sharp rise in blood pressure causes the mother to suffer a series of potentially fatal complications and forces premature delivery of the infant. Preeclampsia develops in approximately 5 percent of all pregnancies.
The only way doctors have been able to identify preeclampsia is by weekly monitoring of women's blood pressure and testing for abnormal levels of protein in the urine during the third trimester of pregnancy. Researchers now say they have found that they could detect certain proteins in the urine indicative of preeclampsia, suggesting a simple urine test could potentially serve as a less expensive and less invasive screening tool.
Thus researchers say diagnosing this condition earlier could help women with preeclampsia avoid major complications. A simple urine test could help predict the onset of this disease one to two months before the onset of clinical symptoms, and that could make a tremendous difference in outcomes for patients .