Hypertension throughout being pregnant might have an effect on girls’s hearts in the long run – Client Well being Information
THURSDAY, February 25, 2021 (HealthDay News) – Pregnancy-related high blood pressure can lead to long-term heart risks, new research suggests.
Compared to women with normal blood pressure during pregnancy, women who developed blood pressure disorders such as preeclampsia and gestational hypertension showed significant differences in heart structure and function a decade after birth.
These differences primarily affect the left ventricle of the heart and can increase a woman’s risk of heart disease and heart failure later in life without her realizing it. This is evident from the University of Pittsburgh study published February 22nd in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
The results could help doctors identify women at high risk for long-term heart problems and start preventative treatment, the researchers suggested.
“Hypertension is a silent killer,” said study author Dr. Malamo Countouris, cardiologist and co-director of the UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital Postpartum Hypertension Clinic.
“None of the women in our study had clinical symptoms of heart disease – they are young and likely to feel good and healthy and may not see a doctor regularly – but it’s important to get them screened for high blood pressure early,” she added in a press release the university.
The study also found that women with a history of high blood pressure were at greatest risk of developing heart problems both during pregnancy and now.
Eight to 10 years after giving birth, 79% of the women in this “double whammy” group had a thickening in the walls of their left ventricles. This compared to 36.4% of women with high blood pressure only during pregnancy; 46.2% for current high blood pressure alone; and 38.2% of women with neither.
Both pregnancy and present high blood pressure has been associated with a condition in which the left ventricle becomes stiff and does not fill with blood to full capacity.
“Identifying women at high risk can provide a window of opportunity for targeted interventions to prevent heart disease,” Countouris said. “Suggesting simple lifestyle or diet changes, including regular exercise and better management of other cardiovascular risk factors, can prevent adverse changes in the heart and lower the risk of heart disease later in life.”
More research is needed to learn more about the relationship between complicated pregnancies and long-term effects on the heart, Countouris concluded.
The American Academy of Family Physicians is more concerned with high blood pressure during pregnancy.
Source: University of Pittsburgh, press release February 22, 2021