Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy increase future risk of heart disease

New information out of an Australian research facility is cautioning pregnant women that any kind of hypertensive disorder of pregnancy during their term could result in cardiovascular complications in the future.

The link between hypertension during pregnancy and increased risk of future cardiovascular disease (CVD) isn’t new, lead researcher Jane Tooher and co-authors wrote in a recent study, which was published in Hypertension‘s October issue. It’s well-documented that women who experience hypertensive disorders of pregnancy (HDP) are at an increased risk for future heart problems when compared to a similar, normotensive group, and 5 to 10 percent of all pregnancies worldwide are affected by HDP. However, Tooher’s team wanted to look into the possible connections between future CVD risk and all forms of hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, factoring in maximum blood pressure, use of antihypertensive medication and duration of disease, according to the research.

In the broadest component of their study, Tooher and co-authors used medical records from more than 30,000 women admitted to an Australian hospital between 1980 and 1989 and retrospectively analyzed their pregnancies.

Of the large group, 86.2 percent of mothers remained normotensive in their pregnancies, while 13.8 percent were diagnosed with HDP at some point during the nine months. After narrowing the subjects to a randomized cohort of under 500, Tooher’s team found 34 percent of those women developed severe hypertension during their pregnancies, and mothers with high blood pressure were almost three times more likely to develop chronic hypertension or kidney disease in the future. They were also twice as likely to suffer from a heart attack or stroke.

HDP is split into four categories—preeclampsia, gestational hypertension, chronic hypertension and preeclampsia superimposed with hypertension—with preeclampsia considered the most dangerous disorder.

Still, although preeclampsia might be…

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