Make the Link Between Preeclampsia and Heart Disease
Debbie’s Story (Download Print PSA)
Women who have had preeclampsia have three – four times the risk of high blood pressure. They also have double the risk for heart disease and stroke. They have an increased risk of developing diabetes.
While still unknown whether the risk is caused by preeclampsia, or if the woman was already predisposed, these risks
first emerge in the years following a complicated pregnancy. Although this may seem daunting, ample research shows that there are many ways for women to protect their heart health and that of their families!
Early recognition and reporting of symptoms is the key to early detection and management of preeclampsia. Contact your doctor or midwife right away if you experience any of the following symptoms.
- Swelling of the hands and face, especially around the eyes (swelling of the feet is more common in late pregnancy and probably not a sign of preeclampsia)
- Weight gain of more than five pounds in a week
- Headache that won’t go away, even after taking medication such as acetaminophen
- Changes in vision like seeing spots or flashing lights; partial or total loss of eyesight
- Nausea or throwing up, especially suddenly, after mid pregnancy (not the morning sickness that many women experience in early pregnancy)
- Upper right belly pain, sometimes mistaken for indigestion or the flu
- Difficulty breathing, gasping, or panting
- “I just don’t feel right”
Having symptoms doesn’t necessarily mean you have preeclampsia. However, they are cause for concern and require immediate medical evaluation.