Many women develop high blood pressure during pregnancy but after delivery their blood pressure normalizes. Previous research has shown that these women are at a higher risk to develop high blood pressure when they get older (especially after menopause). A new research study conducted by Chielan researchers published in the journal Hypertension (April 2009) reports that women who develop high blood pressure during pregnancy are also at a greater risk to develop significant coronary artery disease. This study followed 217 women who underwent a heart catheterization approximately 30 years after their last pregnancy. Women who had experienced high blood pressure during at least one of their pregnancies were more likely to have significant narrowings in their coronary arteries than women who had normal blood pressures during pregnancy. Also women with high blood pressure during one of their pregnancies developed coronary artery disease about 3 years earlier.
So any woman who experiences high blood pressure during pregnancy, even if their blood pressure normalizes after delivery should be closely monitored for future heart disease. All heart disease risk factors should be evaluated in any woman who develops high blood pressure during pregnancy.
“Take Charge: A Woman’s Guide to a Healthier Heart” was published this year and discusses how women can identify their risk factors and control their likelihood of developing future heart disease. For more info please visit www.heart-strong.com