Pregnancy Complications Could Mean Lifelong Heart Risks for Women | Health

THURSDAY, February 2, 2023 (HealthDay News) — Severe pregnancy complications such as preeclampsia and preterm birth should be recognized as lifetime risk factors for heart disease in women, new research finds.

According to the study, published Feb. 1, women who experience any of the top five pregnancy complications are at increased risk of ischemic heart disease up to 46 years after delivery BMJ.

The five complications are: prematurity (less than 37 weeks gestation), small baby for gestational age at birth, preeclampsia (a blood pressure disorder), other blood pressure disorders of pregnancy, and gestational diabetes.

“Women with poor pregnancy outcomes should be considered for early preventive evaluation and long-term risk reduction to prevent the development of ischemic heart disease,” the study authors said in a journal press release. dr Casey Crump of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City led the research team.

Almost a third of women experience an unfavorable pregnancy outcome, the authors said in the Supporting Information. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in women worldwide.

For the study, American and Swedish researchers identified more than 2.1 million women in Sweden with no history of heart disease. Each had given birth to a single living child between 1973 and 2015 at the median age of 27.

Using medical records, the researchers tracked cases of heart disease from the date of delivery through 2018. This was an average follow-up of 25 years.

They took into account the maternal age, number of children, education, income, body mass index, smoking, and history of high blood pressure, diabetes, or high cholesterol.

More than 83,000 – or almost 4% – of women with an average age of 58 have been diagnosed with heart disease.

The researchers found that in the 10 years after delivery, the relative rates of heart disease increased 1.7-fold in women with a history of preterm birth and 1.5-fold in women with preeclampsia. In addition, they doubled in women with other high blood pressure conditions during pregnancy. In addition, the risk of heart disease increased 1.3-fold in women with gestational diabetes and 1.1-fold in women who gave birth to a child too small for the gestational age.

Women with multiple adverse pregnancy outcomes showed a further increase in risk.

These risks remained significantly increased 30 to 46 years after delivery. They were only partially explained by shared genetic or environmental factors within families, the researchers noted.

However, the study cannot prove a direct cause-effect relationship.

More information

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on women and heart disease.

SOURCE: BMJPress release, February 1, 2023

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