HYPERTENSION: THE SILENT KILLER PT4

Hello there! We are still on Hypertension. This week, we are discussing Hypertension in Pregnancy.

Hypertension could develop before, during or after conception and this always requires special care.

Hypertension that was present before you became pregnant or that occurs before 20 weeks of your pregnancy is known as Chronic Hypertension while Gestational Hypertension is the one that develops in a woman when she is more than 20 weeks pregnant. The latter occurs without other symptoms and usually resolves after delivery.

However, chronic or gestational hypertension sometimes leads to Pre-eclampsia. This is a pregnancy complication often characterized by high blood pressure and signs of damage to other organ systems and usually occurs after 20 weeks of pregnancy or greater (typically in the third trimester). These signs may include; excess protein in the urine, fluid in the lungs, pain over the upper abdomen, decreased urine output, changes in vision, severe headaches, low platelet count, increased swelling and impaired liver function. When Pre-eclampsia becomes severe, it can affect brain function resulting into seizures or coma; a condition known as Eclampsia.

Women who are at risk of developing gestational hypertension or pre-eclampsia are those who are;

  • 40 years or older
  • Of African descent
  • Having certain medical conditions such as diabetes mellitus
  • Obese
  • Pregnant for the first time
  • Pregnant with twins or higher multiples.
  • Having a history of chronic kidney disease
  • Having a family history of gestational hypertension or pre- eclampsia

To be continued…

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