Women who have temporarily developed high blood pressure during pregnancy should be examined regularly later: High blood pressure in pregnancy is often a harbinger of a permanent illness. An expert from the German Hypertension League explains what to look out for.
Even healthy women can develop high blood pressure during pregnancy. This is not only due to the larger amount of blood that the pregnant woman's heart has to pump through the body and the mother cake. A certain increase in blood pressure is therefore normal. In addition, the mother's entire metabolism changes in the middle of pregnancy in a way that can promote the development of diabetes and vascular calcification in later life. In addition to blood pressure, blood sugar and blood lipids also rise.
"Pregnancy can be described as a stress test for the circulatory system," says PD Dr. med. Alexander Lammert, expert of the German Hypertension League from Grünstadt. Not all women pass this test. Around six percent develop high blood pressure during pregnancy, which must be treated with medication. "Some experience headaches and other symptoms, as well as kidney damage known as preeclampsia," explains Dr. Lammert. "Then the high blood pressure can also cause organ damage."
Most women recover from high blood pressure after delivery. Your blood pressure normalizes and you no longer need any medication. "The women feel completely healthy and the strains of pregnancy are quickly forgotten," says the expert. But the situation can be deceptive: A study of almost 6,000 women from California showed that many women had high blood pressure again in the first year after birth. The researchers found that in the first year of pregnancy after high pressure, women developed more than twice as likely to have high blood pressure as other women.
The renewed rise in blood pressure initially does not cause any complaints. The young mothers therefore usually do not recognize him, especially since their attention turns to other things. "However, post-pregnancy blood pressure must be taken seriously," warns Dr. Previous research shows that this increases the risk of heart attack, stroke and other vascular diseases in the long term. “We therefore advise all women to check their blood pressure regularly during pregnancy. If the values are noticeable, regular checks should also be carried out after the delivery, ”says the expert. Blood sugar and blood lipids are also best checked during a doctor's visit. "Women with high blood pressure during pregnancy should know that they are at higher risk during pregnancy and should be accompanied accordingly by a specialist." As a rule, high blood pressure can be treated well - if it is recognized.