Pre-eclampsia 'increases risk of heart disease'

Women who suffered pre-eclampsia during pregnancy are four times more likely to have heart failure in later life, according to new research by Keele University, UK.

The study also found that expectant mothers with pre-eclampsia, which presents with high blood pressure and protein in the woman’s urine, face twice the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke and death due to cardiovascular disease in later life.

Researchers explained that pre-eclampsia affects five to eight per cent of pregnancies and is the most common cause of severe ill health during pregnancy. In extreme circumstances, it can even lead to the death of the mother or baby.

The findings focused on the analysis of 22 studies and more than 6.5 million women.

Following their discovery, the researchers are calling for doctors to offer better advice to women about the increased risks associated with pre-eclampsia, and the actions they can take to avoid future ill health.

Dr Pensee Wu, study first author and lecturer in obstetrics and gynaecology at Keele University, said: “Doctors need to be aware of the importance of educating women about their increased level of cardiovascular risk and of advising women about the beneficial effects of changing their lifestyle, such as increasing their level of physical activity and not smoking.”Image removed.