Hypertensive diseases can cut short women’s lives

New York, Feb 2 (IANS) Women with a history of any category of hypertensive disease of pregnancy (HDP) are at increased risk of early mortality.

HDP that can complicate pregnancies is a group of diseases which includes preeclampsia, eclampsia, gestational hypertension, and chronic hypertension.

Increased mortality risk for these women begins approximately 20 years after pregnancy, the study said.

“We now know that women with a history of any category of HDP are at increased risk for mortality from a variety of causes,” stated one of the researchers Lauren Theilen from University of Utah Health Sciences Centre in Salt Lake City, US.

“It is important for physicians who care for these women beyond their childbearing years to recognise the significance of a history of HDP so that these women may receive appropriate screening and intervention,” Theilen added.

It has long been recognised that pregnancy puts considerable stress on the body and that there are specific conditions during pregnancy that will indicate lifelong health issues.

The objective of this study was to assess whether women with a history of any hypertensive disease during pregnancy have increased risk for early mortality and to determine the timing and most common cause of their deaths.

The study looked at births from 1939 to 2012 using the Utah Population Database.

Based on birth certificate data, researchers assigned a diagnosis of HDP and, when possible, the category of disease.

Primary cause of death was ascertained from death certificates.

Of 2,083,331 birth certificates evaluated, 61,727 (three percent) had HDP. Of these, all-cause mortality was significantly increased for women with a history of HDP.

They also had the greatest risk of mortality due to Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, ischemic heart disease, and stroke, the study said.

The findings will be presented at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine’s annual meeting in Atlanta, US.

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