Preeclampsia or pregnancy-induced hypertension is one of the risks of pregnancy. It is common during the first pregnancy and its incidence increases with multiple births.
In most cases, preeclampsia causes a slightly elevated blood pressure. But if blood pressure continues to rise, preeclampsia can be a serious problem for both the mother and child.
"The only cure for preeclampsia is delivery of the baby. If preeclampsia develops near the end of your pregnancy, delivery is the obvious solution. your pregnancy to allow your baby more time to mature, without putting you or your baby at risk of serious complications, "said the Mayo Clinic.
Aside of hypertension, other signs and symptoms of preeclampsia are proteinuria (protein in the urine, usually an indication of kidney disease) after 20 weeks of pregnancy, and edema (swelling) of the hands, feet and face.
The patient may also experience severe headaches, temporary vision loss or blurred vision, nausea and vomiting, dizziness and sudden weight gain.
Women who gain more than three pounds a week during the second trimester or more than a pound a week during the third trimester of pregnancy should consult a physician about the possibility of preeclampsia.
Your risk of developing preeclampsia increases if you have a history of the condition, are over 35, overweight, and have high blood pressure, diabetes or kidney disease.
Untreated, the condition can lead to complications like eclampsia. About five percent of women with preeclampsia develop this life-threatening condition which is marked by partial blindness, vomiting, kidney and liver damage, convulsions, shock, premature labor and the death of the mother and child.
"When preeclampsia is not controlled, eclampsia – which is essentially preeclampsia plus seizures – can develop. Symptoms of eclampsia include upper right abdominal pain, severe headache, vision problems and change in mental status such as decreased alertness. vital organs, including the brain, liver and kidneys. "Left untreated, eclampsia can cause coma, brain damage and death for both mother and baby," warned the Mayo Clinic.
The cause of preeclampsia is unknown but doctors believe it may be an immune disorder or the result of a poor diet or damage to the blood vessels.
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