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Aurora magazine

High blood pressure during pregnancy increases the risk of heart attack

Women suffering from high blood pressure during pregnancy are more prone to preeclampsia, which leads to high risks for the child. A study shows that this condition is also dangerous for the mother. Those with high blood pressure during gestation are more likely to have heart attacks or strokes.

The research was funded by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) and presented at the British Cardiovascular Society Conference in Manchester. A team from the Universities of Cambridge and Bristol examined the data of 6.5 million women, collected between 1997 and 2015. Of these, over 276,000 had had problems with high blood pressure and 223,715 with preeclampsia.

The amount of data has allowed researchers to also examine the frequency of heart and cardiovascular diseases, including heart attacks and strokes. A woman with high blood pressure problems in pregnancy has a 45% chance of having a heart attack.

The percentage rises by 70%, if the woman has also suffered from preeclampsia. Under normal conditions, about 3 in 1,000 women suffer from heart and circulatory problems after pregnancy. With high blood pressure, the number rises to 5 per 1,000. With preeclampsia, it reaches 6 women out of 1,000. The percentages concerning the risk of stroke are even more serious. A woman who has high blood pressure during pregnancy is 80% more likely to have a stroke. The condition doubles the chances of having fatal cardiomyopathies. Knowing these data could save the lives of many women at risk of cardiovascular diseases.