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High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy
High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy Print E-mail
We've all heard about high blood pressure, but some people see the stories portrayed in the media, and assume it is mainly a male phenomenon, or is something rather laughable, such as the angry boss with steam coming out of his ears.

But high blood pressure can be very serious, and left untreated, it can cause adverse affects to most of the organs in the body. Even if you’ve never been diagnosed with high blood pressure, it is always a good idea to have yours checked at least once a year. Early detection of high blood pressure and its control is a main key to preventing damage to organs such as the kidneys and heart. The kidneys play a big role in the control of blood pressure regulation.

If you are planning to become pregnant it is also a good idea to have your blood pressure checked. This will provide a baseline to work with when you do become pregnant: any changes will be easy to spot. Blood pressure usually declines slightly in pregnancy so any rise gives cause for some concern.

A rise in blood pressure during pregnancy can be an indication of preeclampsia which is a serious life-threatening problem requiring immediate medical attention. Excessive weight gain during pregnancy is also undesirable as this predisposes one to high blood pressure and preeclampsia.

Preeclampsia can manifest after the 20th week of pregnancy. If tests show high blood pressure and protein in the mother’s urine sample simultaneously, the midwives and/or obstetricians caring for the mother and foetus should be informed immediately.

Preeclampsia affects the mother's vital organs and brain as well as the placenta, and if left untreated can cause seizures which can occasionally lead to death. Some women are predisposed to high blood pressure. They include:

* Women who have had high blood pressure or preeclampsia in a previous pregnancy
* Women who have a previous history of kidney disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, or lupus
* Women with a history of high blood pressure before they became pregnant
* Women who become pregnant when over the age of 40
* Overweight or obese women

Some research shows that women who seem pre-disposed to high blood pressure while pregnant could be candidates for developing high blood pressure related diseases when they are middle aged or older. So there are many more reasons than pregnancy to have your blood pressure checked! Try it once per year#it doesn't hurt or take more than a couple of minutes, so what have you got to lose!
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