Pregnancy Problems Can Increase Heart Disease/Stroke Risk

Young women who develop diabetes during pregnancy (called gestational diabetes) are more likely to develop diabetes and heart disease as they get older compared to women without gestational diabetes (study published Diabetes Care 2008).

Women who develop high blood pressure during pregnancy are more likely to develop coronary artery disease than women who maintained a normal blood pressure during pregnancy. Women with high blood pressure during pregnancy also develop significant narrowings in coronary arteries at an earlier age, about 3 years earlier (Journal Hypertension April 2009).

Women who experience pre-eclampsia during pregnancy are more likely to have a heart attack, stroke and develop blood clots later in life (American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology 2009).

Women with a family history of premature heart disease are at an increased risk. All of these pregnancy problems that occur in younger women need to be recognized as predictors of future heart problems. Unfortunately many gynecologists, primary care physicians and cardiologists are unaware of the increased risk in these women. That is why the public needs to remain informed! Learn you risk factors for heart problems. 80% of heart attacks and strokes are preventable.

“Take Charge: A Woman’s Guide to a Healthier Heart” discusses how women can help control their cholesterol and other risk factors to prevent a heart attack, stroke and diabetes. “Take Charge: A Man’s Roadmap to a Healthier Heart” is due to be released Fall 2009. For more info visit www.heart-strong.com

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