June 1 (UPI) -- Children with mothers who exhibited high blood pressure during pregnancy show a higher incidence of stroke and heart disease, according to a study scheduled for presentation this week at the online ESC Heart & Stroke 2021 conference.
Researchers said children whose mothers had high blood pressure or seizures caused by eclampsia were found to be around a third more likely to have a cardiovascular incident themselves before age 41.
Previous research suggests high blood pressure affects as many as 10% of all pregnant women in the United States.
"Steps could be taken to prevent cardiovascular disease in offspring exposed to hypertensive pregnancy disorders -- for example by focusing on maternal health and screening children for risk factors like high blood pressure early in life," study author Fen Yang said in a press release.
"Studies with longer follow-up are needed to confirm the results and improve understanding of the possible underlying mechanisms," added Yang, a doctoral student in public health at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden.
The study, funded by the China Scholarship Council and the Swedish Heart and Lung Foundation, focused on 5.8 millions births from 1973 to 2014 in Sweden and 1987 to 2014 in Finland.
Of those, 3.76% of births were to mothers who had high blood pressure disorder or an acute blood pressure problem coincidental with live births.
Researchers followed subjects through public registry's to determine health outcomes. The study backed up its finding by looking into rates of cardiovascular dysfunction in the siblings of those affected.
Last year, researchers found that some mothers in some states were much more likely to hypertension episodes during and after labor.
In that study, 9 percent of Louisiana mothers -- the highest rate in the United States -- were found to suffer from chronic high blood pressure following childbirth.
Other states with elevated rated of high blood pressure included Hawaii, Alaska and Missouri.