Women who experience hypertensive disorders during pregnancy are at high risk for developing high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol later in life

1. Women experiencing hypertensive disorders of pregnancy (HDP) had higher rates of cardiovascular disease persisting following the pregnancy.

2. Women with HDP were at particular risk for chronic hypertension, type 2 diabetes (T2DM), and high cholesterol.

Evidence Rating Level: 2 (Good)

Study Rundown: HDP largely includes pre-eclampsia and gestational hypertension. The literature suggests that women who manage such symptoms during pregnancy may be at increased risk for future cardiovascular disease. The authors of this study aimed to study the relationships between HDP and maternal cardiovascular risk factors. Further, it charted the trajectory of risk factor development after pregnancy. This study had several limitations. Mainly, the study relied on self-reported HDP, which may have resulted in reporting bias among participants. One of the strengths of the study was that it adjusted for a large number of prepregnancy confounders corresponding to the relationship between HDP and CVD risk factors. Overall, the results of the study suggested that women who have experienced HDP are at higher risk for cardiovascular disease following pregnancy and developing cardiovascular risk factors. These women may benefit from further healthcare interventions to decrease overall cardiac risk.

Click to read the study in Annals of Internal Medicine

Relevant Reading: Preeclampsia and cardiovascular disease: interconnected paths that enable detection of the subclinical stages of obstetric and cardiovascular diseases

In-Depth [prospective cohort]: The authors of this study conducted an observational cohort study, using a group of participants from the Nurses’ Health Study II. These participants did not have any CVD at baseline. Women then were followed and self-reported any diagnoses of HDP from their first birth through 2013. Results were analyzed via multivariable Cox proportional hazards models. It was observed that women who experienced HDP during their first pregnancy developed chronic hypertension at a 2 or 3-fold higher rate compared to women without HDP. Further, they also had 70% higher rates of T2DM and 30% higher rates of high cholesterol. These associations were still significant after the authors adjusted the analysis for potential confounders, such as smoking and family history.

Image: PD

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