Preeclampsia is when your doctor diagnosed you and discover you have high blood pressure and protein in your urine during pregnancy.
This disease condition is also called toxemia or pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH). Eclampsia is a severe complication of preeclampsia. Eclampsia also includes high blood pressure resulting in seizures during pregnancy.
What Are The Causes of Preeclampsia?
- genetic factors
- blood vessel problems
- autoimmune disorders
- being pregnant with multiple fetuses
- being over the age of 35
- being in your early teens
- being pregnant for the first time
- being obese
- having a history of high blood pressure
- having a history of diabetes
- having a history of a kidney disorder
Other high blood pressure disorders during pregnancy
- Gestational hypertension. Women with gestational hypertension have high blood pressure but no excess protein in their urine or other signs of organ damage. Some women with gestational hypertension eventually develop high blood pressure.
- Chronic hypertension. Chronic hypertension is high blood pressure that was present before pregnancy or that occurs before 20 weeks of pregnancy. But because high blood pressure usually doesn’t have symptoms, it may be hard to determine when it began.
- Chronic hypertension with superimposed preeclampsia. This condition occurs in women who have been diagnosed with chronic high blood pressure before pregnancy, but then develop worsening high blood pressure and protein in the urine or other health complications during pregnancy.
Symptoms of Preeclampsia
- Abnormal swelling in your hands and face
- Excess protein in your urine (proteinuria) or additional signs of kidney problems
- Severe headaches
- Changes in vision, including temporary loss of vision, blurred vision or light sensitivity
- Upper abdominal pain, usually under your ribs on the right side
- Nausea or vomiting
- Decreased urine output
- Decreased levels of platelets in your blood (thrombocytopenia)
- Impaired liver function
- Shortness of breath, caused by fluid in your lungs.
Diagnosis of Preeclampsia
- Protein in your urine (proteinuria)
- A low platelet count
- Impaired liver function
- Signs of kidney trouble other than protein in the urine
- Fluid in the lungs (pulmonary edema)
- New-onset headaches or visual disturbances
What is the treatment for preeclampsia?
- getting bed rest
- reducing your salt intake
- drinking more water
- making regular visits to the doctor
- Anticonvulsant medications.
- Medications to lower blood pressure.
What are the complications of preeclampsia?
- Fetal growth restriction.
- Preterm birth.
- Placental abruption.
- HELLP syndrome. HELLP — which stands for hemolysis (the destruction of red blood cells), elevated liver enzymes and low platelet count — syndrome is a more severe form of preeclampsia, and can rapidly become life-threatening for both you and your baby.
- Eclampsia. When isn’t controlled, eclampsia — which is essentially preeclampsia plus seizures — can develop. It is very difficult to predict which patients will have high blood pressure that is severe enough to result in eclampsia.
- Cardiovascular disease. Having high blood pressure may increase your risk of future heart and blood vessel (cardiovascular) disease. The risk is even greater if you’ve had high blood pressure more than once or you’ve had a preterm delivery.
Risk factors of Preeclampsia
- History of preeclampsia.
- Chronic hypertension.
- First pregnancy.
- New paternity. Each pregnancy with a new partner increases the risk of preeclampsia more than does a second or third pregnancy with the same partner.
- Age. The risk of high blood pressure is higher for very young pregnant women as well as pregnant women older than 40.
- Multiple pregnancies. It is more common in women who are carrying twins, triplets or other multiples.
- An interval between pregnancies. Having babies less than two years or more than 10 years apart leads to a higher risk of preeclampsia.
- History of certain conditions. Having certain conditions before you become pregnant — such as chronic high blood pressure, migraines, type 1 or type 2 diabetes, kidney disease, a tendency to develop blood clots, or lupus — increases your risk of high blood pressure.
- In vitro fertilization. Your risk of high blood pressure is increased if your baby was conceived with in vitro fertilization
Prevention OF Preeclampsia
- Low-dose aspirin. If you meet certain risk factors, including a history of preeclampsia with severe features, preeclampsia resulting in preterm delivery, chronic hypertension or a history of kidney disease, your doctor may recommend a daily low-dose aspirin — between 60 and 81 milligrams — beginning late in your first trimester.
- Calcium supplements. In some populations, women who have calcium deficiency before pregnancy — and who don’t get enough calcium during pregnancy through their diets — might benefit from calcium supplements to prevent preeclampsia. However, it’s unlikely that women from the United States or other developed countries would have calcium deficiency to the degree that calcium supplements would benefit them.
- Diseases-conditions/symptoms-causes. Mayo Clinic.: Mayo Clinic Hospital Florida. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/preeclampsia/symptoms-causes/syc-20355745. Accessed Mar. 07, 2018.
- Health. Health Line.: Healthline New York. https://www.healthline.com/health/preeclampsia. Accessed Mar. 07, 2018.