High blood pressure complications during pregnancy linked to increased risk for hypertension

A clinician takes the blood pressure of a woman in a medical setting.

People who experienced high blood pressure complications during pregnancy were 2.4-times more likely to have high blood pressure, or hypertension, within 10 years, according to a small study that published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. The researchers also found that six out of 10 participants with hypertension, a risk factor for heart disease, were not previously diagnosed with high blood pressure.

The findings expand on previous
research, which included data from more than 60,000 women who participated in the Nurses’ Health Study II, that described links between hypertensive disorders of pregnancy and increased risks for cardiovascular disease later in life.

“Hypertension, known as a ‘silent killer,’ is sadly often underdiagnosed and undertreated, particularly among young adults,” said Gina S. Wei, M.D., M.P.H., the associate director for Prevention and Population Science within the Division of Cardiovascular Sciences and a senior advisor for women’s health at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. “This research further underscores the importance of detecting and treating hypertension early, especially among those who developed a hypertensive disorder of pregnancy.”

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