Increased risk of cardiovascular disease for pregnant women with high blood pressure

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Doctor taking woman's blood pressure
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Women with high blood pressure during pregnancy have an increased risk of high blood pressure even 40 years after maternity, which leads in turn to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. This has been demonstrated by researchers at Sahlgrenska Academy.

In a recent study, researchers at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg examined 105 women who gave birth in the early 1970s. Half the women had elevated blood pressure during pregnancy, while the other half had a normal pregnancy.

High blood pressure decades later

The study shows that women who had elevated blood pressure during pregnancy were more frequently diagnosed with high blood pressure even 35 to 40 years later. The same women showed signs of increased stiffening of the arteries and some deterioration in the blood sugar balance.

“We can see that even a minor increase in blood pressure can be connected to some deterioration in the heart’s structure and function in these women. Together, these findings can partly explain the increased risk of cardiovascular disease,” says Anna-Clara Collén, who reports the results in her thesis.

Regain normal pressure

In order to maintain a healthy cardiovascular system after the menopause, women who have had high blood pressure during pregnancy should make an effort to regain normal blood pressure after pregnancy.

“This is about being physically active and avoiding overweight, for example. It is also important to have accurate and regular blood pressure check-ups,” says Anna-Clara Collén.

Source: University of Gothenburg

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Date Created: April 23, 2013