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Preeclampsia Linked to Higher Hypothyroidism Risk

Women with preeclampsia show greater TSH increase in pregnancy, higher TSH later in life

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 18 (HealthDay News) -- In nulliparous pregnant women, preeclampsia is associated with risk of subclinical hypothyroidism later in pregnancy, and women with a history of preeclampsia may be at higher risk of reduced thyroid function later in life, according to research published Nov. 17 in BMJ.

Richard J. Levine, M.D., of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development in Bethesda, Md., and colleagues analyzed data from a case-control study of 141 women who developed preeclampsia, all of whom provided serum samples early in the pregnancy (dubbed "baseline") and after preeclampsia onset (dubbed "predelivery"). These women were matched with 141 controls. The authors also analyzed data from a separate group of more than 7,000 Norwegian women.

The researchers found that thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) levels increased more from baseline to predelivery in women with preeclampsia than control women. In the Norwegian group, the authors found that women with preeclampsia in their first pregnancy had a higher risk of having concentrations of TSH hormone above the reference range.

"As women with subclinical thyroid dysfunction are at greater risk of progression to overt hypothyroidism, our findings could have important implications for the subsequent care of women with preeclampsia. Not only should they be followed closely for the development of cardiovascular and renal disease and the amelioration of predisposing risk factors, but consideration should also be given to monitoring for the development of reduced thyroid function and clinically important hypothyroidism," the authors write.

A co-author reported consulting work for several pharmaceutical companies and is listed as an inventor on several provisional patents related to preeclampsia.

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