Women who develop high blood pressure during pregnancy, whether from preeclampsia or gestational hypertension, have a 63 percent higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease later in life. In a new study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston analyzed data from more than 60,000 women who were followed for almost 30 years. They found that the majority of the increased risk involved four factors – chronic high blood pressure after giving birth, high cholesterol, diabetes and gaining weight. It’s possible some cardiovascular damage occurs in women with hypertension during pregnancy, but it’s more likely that pregnancy reveals health risks these women already have. This study suggests that doctors should ask all female patients about a history of high blood pressure during pregnancy, and female patients should start exercising and eating a healthy diet, even before getting pregnant.
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