Tags: heart | risk | pregnancy

Pregnancy Problems Hike Heart Risks

Monday, 20 February 2012 04:49 PM

Women who develop pregnancy-related diabetes or high blood pressure face an increased risk of heart disease later in life, a new study suggests.
British researchers, reporting in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, said the findings spotlight a new way to identify women at increased risk of developing heart problems in middle-age – and helping them make lifestyle changes and get medical attention earlier in life.
The study, led by University of Bristol scientists, tracked 3,416 pregnant women beginning in the early 1990s, including more than 1,200 who had at least one complication. The complications included gestational or pregnancy diabetes, high blood pressure, preterm delivery or delivering low-birth weight babies.
Researchers then tracked which of the women developed heart problems 18 years later, when they were an average of 48 years old. They found:
• High blood pressure, gestational diabetes and giving birth to small babies were associated with an increased risk of heart disease in middle age.
• Gestational diabetes was associated with a 26 percent higher risk of heart disease; high blood pressure was linked to 31 percent greater risk.
• Those who had preterm babies had higher blood pressure.
"Pregnancy may provide an opportunity to identify women at increased risk of heart disease while they are relatively young; thus, it would be useful for medical professionals to have information on pregnancy complications so they can recommend lifestyle changes and any necessary medical intervention sooner," the researchers concluded. "A woman who experiences complications during pregnancy should be proactive and ask her doctor about future [heart] risk and steps she should take to modify her risk."

© HealthDay

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Diabetes, high blood pressure in pregnancy may predict heart disease in middle age.
Monday, 20 February 2012 04:49 PM
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