About 80 million adults in the United States have been diagnosed with high blood pressure.
It’s a major issue here in the south, but there is another part of the conversation that’s getting new attention—treating high blood pressure in pregnant women, medically known as preeclampsia.
“It was very frightening,” Kandi Hughes, a first time mom, said.
She initially thought her swollen legs were just a part of pregnancy, but at the advice of a colleague in the medical field, she decided to have it checked.
A 24-hour urine test found protein.
“That was the red flag that I had to go to the hospital” Hughes said.
At 28 weeks, Hughes found out she had preeclampsia. She had to stay in the hospital almost a month before giving birth.
Her daughter, now healthy, was born two months early.
“That had also caused her blood flow to stop through the umbilical cord as well, so she was born at 32 weeks weighing three pounds.”
“Preeclampsia is something that can develop very quickly and it can affect all the organs in your body,” Dr. Laura Ramsay, a physician at Novant Health WomanCare, said.
“We don’t know why, but first time moms have a higher risk of having preeclampsia than other women,” she added.
The American Heart Association recently announced that it’s supporting new studies on high blood pressure including providing a new predictor of preeclampsia.
Ramsay says some risk factors include having high blood pressure before pregnancy, family history, and being overweight.
Ramsay advises that even if women don’t necessarily feel bad or just have vague symptoms to contact their doctor.