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Pre-eclampsia is future CVD warning sign

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Pre-eclampsia could be the earliest warning sign of later cardiovascular risk in women, according to Canadian researchers.

The condition occurs in 5-10% of all pregnancies but clinicians often fail to follow it up with other CVD screening tests, warn study authors from Queen’s University in Ontario.

The five-year study, published on-line in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, has followed the progress of 400 Ontario women, half of whom developed pre-eclampsia during their pregnancy.

When screened a year after delivery, the women with pre-eclampsia showed underlying CVD risk factors of elevated blood pressure and lipids at a rate that was two to three times greater than the controls.

‘The symptoms probably pre-dated pregnancy and were the background upon which pre-eclampsia developed,’ said study author Graeme Smith, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the university.

He added: ‘What’s exciting for our research team is that we’re mostly dealing with young, healthy women who now have the opportunity to protect themselves from developing a life-threatening condition years down the road.’

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