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Hypertension and Cardiac Link During Pregnancy Analyzed

History of hypertensive disorders in pregnancy may increase risk of cardiac, metabolic disorders

FRIDAY, Oct. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Women with a history of hypertensive disorders during pregnancy are at higher risk of cardiovascular and metabolic disorders, particularly if the hypertension is recurrent, according to a Norwegian study in the November issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Elisabeth B. Magnussen, M.D., of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, and colleagues examined the association between hypertensive pregnancy disorders (preeclampsia or gestational hypertension) and modifiable risk factors for cardiovascular and metabolic diseases among 15,065 women with a first singleton birth from 1967 to 1995.

The researchers showed that women with a history of hypertensive disorders during pregnancy had a higher body mass index and blood pressure, as well as unfavorable levels of total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and triglycerides. The risk of diabetes was significantly higher in women with preeclampsia. Hypertensive disorders occurring in more than one pregnancy or late in pregnancy strengthened the association between cardiovascular risk factors. In addition, two episodes of preeclampsia were associated with a greater likelihood of using blood pressure medication, while three episodes of gestational hypertension were associated with higher systolic and diastolic blood pressure. However, adjusting for body mass index partially attenuated these associations.

"Women with a history of hypertensive disorders in pregnancy, and particularly women with recurrent pregnancy disorders, should be candidates for intervention intended to prevent premature cardiovascular disease," the authors conclude.

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