Consequences of preeclampsia

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Women who develop pre-eclampsia are at increased risk of developing recurrent pre-eclamp-sia, chronic hypertension (Sibai et al., 1986), and maternal coronary heart disease later in life, suggesting they carry risk factors (genetic?) which may predispose them to pre-eclampsia when pregnant. A recent study of women who had developed pre-eclampsia 18—28years previously found them to have a significantly higher diastolic blood pressure and increased concentrations of VCAM-1 and ICAM-1 but not lipoprotein (Sattar et al., 2003). They also had higher glycosylated hemoglobin levels but not fasting insulin. Pregnancy can thus be considered a stress test for the maternal cardiovascular system, certainly it will never be subjected to such change again, and may therefore identify individuals such as those at risk for developing cardiovascular disease later in life or those with the metabolic syndrome. Being able to identify such risk at the time of pregnancy and applying interventions may have life-long consequences

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