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Pregnancy hypertension, heart issues later

Feb. 24, 2013 at 1:48 AM

BETHESDA, Md., Feb. 24 (UPI) -- Women who develop high blood pressure during pregnancy may later face higher risk of heart disease, kidney disease and diabetes, U.S. researchers say.

Dr. Tuija Mannisto, a postdoctoral fellow at the National Institutes of Health, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, said high blood pressure during pregnancy -- even once or twice during routine medical care -- could signal substantially higher risks of heart disease, kidney disease and diabetes.

The researchers looked at less serious forms of high blood pressure common in pregnant women. For 40 years, they tracked Finnish women who had babies in 1966.

The study, published in the journal Circulation, found:

-- One-third of the women had at least one high blood pressure measurement during pregnancy.

-- Women who had any high blood pressure during pregnancy had 14 percent to more than 100 percent higher risk of cardiovascular diseases later in life, compared to women with normal blood pressure during pregnancy.

-- Women who had any high blood pressure during pregnancy were two to five times more likely to die of heart attacks than women with normal blood pressure during pregnancy.

Healthcare providers should monitor these women's long-term for risk factors and be prepared to treat heart issues, Mannisto, the study's lead author, said.

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