Scientists from the Medical University of South Carolina found women with high blood pressure conditions during pregnancy may face double the risk for kidney disease within several years after giving birth.
The research is published in Hypertension and was conducted by Dulaney Wilson et al.
More than 15% of women are affected by some type of pregnancy-related hypertension during their reproductive years.
The conditions include preeclampsia, which can affect the kidney, liver, lungs, and brain; eclampsia, when preeclampsia progresses to seizures or coma; gestational hypertension, a rise in blood pressure after 20 weeks of pregnancy; and chronic hypertension, high blood pressure before or during the first 19 weeks of pregnancy and more than 12 weeks after the baby is born.
These disorders can lead to death or organ damage, including end-stage kidney disease, when the kidneys can no longer function on their own.
In the study, researchers analyzed hospital records for 391,838 women who gave birth in South Carolina between 2004 and 2016.
About 35% of the women were Black and 65% were white. They ranged in age from 12 to 49 at the time they gave birth and were followed at three, five, and 14 years after delivery.
The team found the risk of kidney disease after three years was 2.29-fold in women who developed pregnancy-related hypertension compared to women without blood pressure problems.
But the risk was highest among women who also had high blood pressure prior to pregnancy.
These women were 3.8 times as likely to develop kidney disease within three years after giving birth than their peers who had no blood pressure issues.
By 14 years after delivery, it decreased to a 2.7-fold higher risk compared to women who had no blood pressure issues before or during pregnancy.
When the results were broken down by race, the risk for Black women was even greater.
This study lends further support to the idea that pregnancy can be a window into your future health.
The team says knowing that Black women may face a higher risk for kidney disease following pregnancy should prompt health care professionals to ask them about their pregnancy health history.
Steps to keep blood pressure within the normal range include staying physically active, eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables and low in saturated fats, and limiting sodium.
If you care about high blood pressure, please read studies about which blood pressure number matters most, and this blood pressure drug may increase the risk of sudden cardiac arrest.
For more information about blood pressure, please see recent studies about new way to treat drug-resistant high blood pressure, and results showing this common snack may cause heart rhythm disease, high blood pressure.
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