Preeclampsia is a pregnancy-specific syndrome that usually develops after 20 weeks gestation. The exact pathogenic mechanisms remain uncertain and are likely multifactorial. Preeclampsia is a heterogeneous condition with potentially maternal and fetal consequences. As part of the spectrum of hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, preeclampsia may progress rapidly and is a leading cause of maternal and perinatal morbidity and mortality worldwide. In the United States, the incidence of preeclampsia has increased. Clinical manifestations are highly variable and may occur antepartum, intrapartum, or postpartum. Hypertension and proteinuria are the traditional hallmarks for the diagnosis of preeclampsia. These signs may occur with or without multisystem dysfunction and fetal involvement. Risk factors have been identified for the development of preeclampsia; however, ideal methods for prevention, screening, and treatment remain elusive. Preeclampsia resolves after delivery of the fetus, but patients may still have hypertension postpartum. Women and fetuses affected by preeclampsia are at higher risk of developing long-term health issues. There appear to be risk factors common to hypertensive disorders of pregnancy and cardiovascular disease seen later in adulthood. Physicians providing healthcare to women are urged to recognize potential risk factors that arise from patient obstetric histories so that optimal long-term health surveillance is provided.
- Cardiovascular disease
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