Quick Take: Pre-eclampsia and risk of dementia later in life: nationwide cohort study

Pre-eclampsia is defined as new onset hypertension accompanied by signs of organ dysfunction in the setting of pregnancy. Unfortunately, the risks associated with pre-eclampsia extend beyond the time of pregnancy, as affected women are more likely to later develop hypertension, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and experience stroke. As a vascular complication, researchers have hypothesized that the risk of dementia may also be increased in women affected by pre-eclampsia, although data supporting this is limited. In this nationwide register-based cohort study, Danish women with at least one live birth or stillbirth between 197 and 2015 (n=1,178,005) were followed up to explore associations between pre-eclampsia and later dementia. Researchers found that women with a history of pre-eclampsia had a significantly increased risk of vascular dementia later in life (HR 3.46, 95% CI 1.97 to 6.10) when compared to women without a history of pre-eclampsia. This association was stronger for late onset disease (HR 6.53, 95% CI 2.82 to 15.1) than early onset disease (HR 2.32, 95% CI 1.06 to 5.06). Adjustment for cardiovascular disease, stroke, hypertension, chronic kidney disease, and diabetes developing during follow-up attenuated the results, particularly for vascular dementia. However, the associations remained strong and statistically significant. Modest associations were found between pre-eclampsia and Alzheimer’s disease (HR 1.45, 95% CI 1.05 to 1.99) and other dementia (HR 1.40, 95% CI 1.08 to 1.83). This study therefore shows that pre-eclampsia is associated with an increased risk of dementia, particularly vascular dementia.

Click to read the study in BMJ

Image: PD

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