Friday, May 27, 2016

Hypertension is common among first-time mothers

If not treated, it leads to pre-eclampsia and then eclampsia


The study’s authors screened 416 pregnant women attending antenatal outpatient department of two private teaching hospitals in Telangana between January and July 2015. To determine the occurrence of hypertension attributable to pregnancy, the authors only selected those women without past history of hypertension. The screened women were aged between 20 and 35 years. Women with other conditions that may suggest past history of hypertension were also excluded.

Among the 416 women screened, 34 – or eight per cent – were found to be hypertensive, with blood pressure readings consistently over 140/90 mm Hg. Alarmingly, 80 per cent of these women were primigravidae or pregnant for the first time, according to a discussion of the findings in the Journal of Evidence Based Medicine and Healthcare.

Common cause of death
“It is important for women to get their blood pressure checked during antenatal checkups. For uncontrolled hypertension can have fatal consequences for the mother and the baby,” said Dr. Srirang Abkari, a practitioner of internal medicine at Global Hospitals who was not associated with the study.
Hypertension is one of the most common causes of deaths during pregnancies.

Uncontrolled hypertension, whether induced by pregnancy (during or after the 20{+t}{+h}week) or existing, may lead to conditions like pre-eclampsia, a condition characterised by unusual amounts of protein in urine and uncontrolled-hypertension that affects the foetus.

If the risk of complications due to hypertension is high, delivering is suggested depending on how far the pregnancy has progressed. If not treated, hypertension leads to pre-eclampsia and then eclampsia, marked by seizures.

The condition warrants abortion to treat the mother. In the Telangana study, the authors noted pre-eclampsia in about 15 per cent of primigravidae women with hypertension, as against 7 per cent in women with hypertension who have been pregnant before.

Regular monitoring
Dr. Abkari notes that women with hypertension can give birth with regular blood pressure monitoring. Those with readings suggesting borderline PIH can benefit from exercises and diet modifications, including regulation of salt intake, without medication. However, uncontrolled high BP warrants medication certified for use during pregnancy, he added.
The authors suggested that pregnancy-induced hypertension may be common among Indian women, while stating the need for population studies to establish its prevalence.

Source:  The Hindu


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