Monitor Pressure to Ward Off Preeclampsia
Pregnant women with high blood pressuremay have to worry about preeclampsiaor eclampsia. Preeclampsia, alsoknown as toxicemia of pregnancy, is indicatedby high blood pressure, fluid retention,and protein in the urine. If left untreated,the condition may lead to eclampsia, alife-threatening condition. Reporting inObstetrics and Gynecology (February2005), the researchers said very high systolicpressure is a better warning sign ofstroke in women with either condition,compared with diastolic pressure. Theresearchers stressed, however, physiciansneed to pay attention to both numbers.
For the study, the researchers examinedcase histories of 28 women who hada stroke connected with severe preeclampsiaor eclampsia. Although only 3 ofthe patients had a diastolic pressure of 110mm Hg or higher just before a stroke, thedata showed that 23 of the patients hadsystolic blood pressures of 160 mm Hg orhigher. All of the participants had systolicpressures >155 mm Hg. The case historiesalso showed that only 3 of the patientsreceived treatment for their high bloodpressure just prior to a stroke.
Moving forward, the researchers saidthey will have to determine how effectiveexisting drugs will be in keeping systolicpressure below 160 mm Hg, and whethercontrolling systolic pressure will preventstroke. In the meantime, the researchersrecommend that women with severepreeclampsia and eclampsia and high systolicblood pressure receive immediate andspecial attention, intensive care, and bloodpressure treatment to prevent stroke.