Q. Does having preeclampsia or gestational diabetes during pregnancy have long-term implications?
Having a complication such as preeclampsia or gestational diabetes during pregnancy can be scary, but it’s important to remember that even though blood pressures and sugar levels may return to normal once you deliver, your body has sent you an early warning signal. These conditions mean that you may need to take a more active role in managing your heart health in the future. Research has shown that women with pregnancy complications, such as preeclampsia or gestational diabetes, have almost twice the risk of developing heart disease in their lifetime. 1
In a recent program sponsored by Abbott, 3,000 women across the U.S. were surveyed and it was striking how many women with a history of pregnancy complications remained unaware of important statistics such as blood sugar levels and body mass index – important measures that relate to long-term heart health. The results also showed that women with pregnancy complications tended to have more cardiovascular risk factors following pregnancy than women without a history of these complications.
The take home message: take charge of your heart health, know your numbers and be sure to let your physician know if you have a history of a pregnancy complication.
— Dr. Roxana Mehran
Dr. Roxana Mehran is a leading interventional cardiologist at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City. She is a widely published author and a frequently invited speaker to national and international scientific conferences. Her research interests include advancing knowledge around the prevention of heart disease in women.
The survey was created in collaboration between the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions-Women in Innovations (SCAI-WIN) and Abbott’s Women’s Heart Health Initiative. More information about pregnancy complications and heart health can be found on SCAI’s website.
1J, et al. Pre-eclampsia and risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer in later life: systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ. 2007; doi:10.1136/bmj.39335.385301.