Pregnancy disorder signals? Check for heart disease

November 5th, 2008 - 3:10 pm ICT by IANS  

Toronto, Nov 5 (IANS) A pregnant woman who experiences high blood pressure could be getting the earliest signal about the risk of developing heart disease. Called pre-eclampsia, this type of high blood pressure occurs in five to 10 percent of all pregnancies, says Graeme Smith, Queen’s University professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

But because most practicing physicians are unaware of the link between pre-eclampsia and risk of cardiovascular problems, they fail to follow up with screening tests.

“This should be on every obstetrician’s and family doctor’s radar screen,” said Smith, an expert in high-risk obstetrics who is affiliated with Kingston General Hospital’s Perinatal Research Unit.

“What’s exciting for our research team is that we’re mostly dealing with young, healthy women who now have the opportunity to protect themselves from developing a life-threatening condition years down the road.”

The study, which began five years ago, has followed the progress of 400 Ontario women, half of who developed pre-eclampsia during their pregnancy, according to a Queen’s University release.

The findings were published on-line in American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

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