Preeclampsia Ups Heart Disease, Death
More Heart Disease After High-Blood-Pressure Pregnancy Syndrome
WebMD News Archive
Pregnancy as Stress Test continued...
Because many women are young when they give birth, they are at very low risk
of having heart disease right away -- even if they have preeclampsia. But
pregnancy gives a woman a look into a crystal ball that warns of coming
"Pregnancy acts as a physical stress test that temporarily draws out her
high blood pressure," Williams says. "It goes away after she gives
birth. But the woman must not forget she is at risk. If she remembers early
enough, she can benefit from lowering her cardiovascular risk."
"Some women fail this cardiovascular and metabolic stress test which is
revealing their future, telling them things about themselves they would
know," Magee says. "Having preeclampsia increases your risk of
long-term problems -- but it gives you the opportunity early in life to prevent
Williams and colleagues are now trying to learn exactly what it is about
preeclampsia that might add to a woman's risk of heart disease. They are also
hoping to learn whether aggressive treatment after -- perhaps with
cholesterol-lowering statin drugs or blood-pressure-lowering drugs -- might
help lower this risk.
For now, both Williams and Magee agree that lifestyle changes -- not drug
treatments -- are the best options for women who've had preeclampsia.
"All women should be following a heart-healthy diet and lifestyle. But
it is particularly important for these women," Magee says. "Having a
baby turns your life upside down anyway, so if you're making changes, why not
make all the right changes?"
The Williams/Bellamy study and Magee's editorial appear in the Nov. 2 online
edition of the British Medical Journal.