High blood pressure during pregnancy raises the risk of cardiovascular disease ten years later.


High blood pressure during pregnancy raises the risk of cardiovascular disease ten years later


According to researchers at the University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine, women who developed hypertensive disorders of pregnancy (HDP) during pregnancy, such as preeclampsia and gestational hypertension, were more than twice as likely to develop hypertension a decade later than women who did not have HDP during pregnancy. A total of 130 women participated in the survey, with 85% of them identifying as Black. The findings were published in the American College of Cardiology's Journal.

HDPs are dangerous disorders that impact up to 20% of all pregnancies. They can result in preterm birth, organ damage, and a higher risk of cardiovascular disease later in life for both mother and baby. These disorders are especially prevalent in people of race, particularly Black women.

An expert stated, "Pregnancy can often be a stress test for future health." "Many pregnancy problems, such as HDP and preterm birth, are linked to higher risks later in life. Patients with high blood pressure during pregnancy (or HDP) have a higher risk of heart disease later in life, although this had not been studied to this extent at the 10-year mark, according to epidemiologic data. We investigated this question in a group of persons, primarily Black women, who had a higher risk of HDP and heart disease."

Although it is generally recognised that the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) increases for women 20 to 30 years following an HDP, nothing was known about the hazards within 10 years after delivery, when patients are still young and may not be experiencing cardiovascular symptoms.

The study comprised 135 individuals, 84 of whom had a history of HDP and 51 of whom did not. In this group, 56% of women with a history of HDP developed stage 2 chronic hypertension, compared to just 24% of women without a history of HDP, resulting in a 2.4-fold greater risk of developing hypertension 10 years later. They tested cardiac and vascular function extensively and found no other significant changes between women with HDP and those who did not. Women with hypertension 10 years after birth, regardless of whether or not they had HDP during pregnancy, were linked to early indicators of heart injury, according to the researchers. This led researchers to believe that hypertension was the primary cause of future CVD risk following HDP-complicated pregnancies.

The findings emphasise the necessity of blood pressure screenings and healthy living. A total of 60% of all participants in the study who satisfied the criteria for stage 1 or 2 hypertension had never been diagnosed and were only diagnosed with hypertension as a result of their participation in the trial.

"This reveals a significant possibility for intervention and prevention," stated a cardiologist who participated in the study. "Many women would prioritise their child or children's health and medical appointments before their own because they do not always have simple access to care." Early detection and treatment of hypertension may be exactly what's needed to prevent future heart disease."

More hypertension screening is recommended for women at high risk, especially if they have a history of HPD. They also advocate for more Black women to participate in comparable studies, as Black women have historically been underrepresented in research and continue to have disproportionately high rates of both HPDs and cardiovascular disease.

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