Pre-eclampsia 'leads to higher heart disease risk'
Published 21/02/2012 | 09:35
WOMEN diagnosed with pre-eclampsia when pregnant are at a higher risk of heart disease later in life, a study indicates.
They are almost a third more likely (31 per cent) to be at risk of cardiovascular disease by the time they are 48 than those who did not suffer from the condition in pregnancy, according to a British study of nearly 3,500 women.
Pre-eclampsia involves having high blood pressure and too much protein in the urine while expecting. Women diagnosed with the condition are at a higher risk of pregnancy-related complications, including miscarriage and stillbirth. It leads to about 500 deaths of babies per year.
Having gestational (pregnancy-induced) diabetes also increases the risk of cardiovascular disease in middle age, by a quarter (26 per cent).
The study, carried out by researchers at the School of Social and Community Medicine at Bristol University, is published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.
Abigail Fraser, from the university, said: "A woman who experiences complications during pregnancy should be proactive and ask her doctor about future cardiovascular risk and steps she should take to modify her risk."
She noted that the project only looked at risk factors for heart disease in middle age and not the actual incidence of events like heart attacks or strokes.