Women with high blood pressure during pregnancy should be monitored closely both during and after birth. Women in this group have an increased chance of developing cardiovascular problems and stroke later in life and the risks are under-recognized.
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Hypertension during pregnancy compromises future health
Women with high blood pressure during pregnancy should be monitored closely both during and after birth, argue Vesna Garovic and Suzanne Hayman in Nature Clinical Practice Nephrology this month. Women in this group have an increased chance of developing cardiovascular problems and stroke later in life and the risks are under-recognized.
Epidemiological research into cardiovascular disease has focused on men. Garovic and Hayman place the spotlight on women by identifying mechanisms shared by hypertensive disorders of pregnancy—such as pre-eclampsia—and cardiovascular disease. These factors include kidney dysfunction, obesity and diabetes.
Cardiovascular problems are the leading causes of death throughout the world. Women who have had pre-eclampsia should be encouraged to attain a normal weight, give up smoking and maintain a healthy diet. Together with annual checks of their blood pressure, and cholesterol, glucose and urine protein levels, these lifestyle modifications should help to prevent these women from developing cardiovascular problems.
Vesna Garovic (Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester, MN, USA)
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Suzanne Farley (Editor, Nature Clinical Practice Nephrology)
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