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Preeclampsia Linked to Heart Disease Risk
Date:11/2/2007

Women need to be aware of their heart disease risk before and after pregnancy,,,,

FRIDAY, Nov. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Women with cardiovascular risk markers are at heightened risk of developing preeclampsia when pregnant, and pregnant women who do develop preeclampsia are at higher risk for developing heart disease later, British and Norwegian researchers report.

Preeclampsia, a condition in which abnormally high blood pressure develops during the second half of pregnancy, affects about 5 percent of all first pregnancies and is dangerous for both mother and child, according to two studies published in the Nov. 2 online edition of the British Medical Journal.

In the first study, Norwegian researchers found that cardiovascular risk factors that show up before pregnancy increase the risk of preeclampsia sevenfold.

"This study is the first that confirms the hypothesis that lipid and blood pressure abnormalities before pregnancy are strong predictors of preeclampsia," said lead author Elisabeth Balstad Magnussen, a research fellow in the Department of Public Health Faculty of Medicine, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim.

To assess the risk, the researchers looked at 3,494 women, recording any cardiovascular risk markers, including blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar levels, weight and body mass index, before pregnancy. Among the group, 133 developed preeclampsia during pregnancy, the researchers found.

Magnussen's team then found that those women who had high blood pressure, high cholesterol and high blood sugar levels before pregnancy were seven times more likely to develop preeclampsia compare with the others.

In addition, women who had a family history of high blood pressure, heart disease, or diabetes had double the risk of developing preeclampsia. And, being overweight or obese also increased the risk, the researchers found.

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