gestational hypertension?

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gestational hypertension?

Postby steph » Thu Mar 06, 2003 01:41 pm

I am still waiting for an answer to my other questions, but I am wondering why all the different terms to describe hypertension in pregnancy? I have been researching these conditions and I came accross yet a new condition, gestational hypertension. I am thinking that this is probably what I have had with my pregnancies. From what I can understand, gestational hypertension is only elevated blood pressure after 20 weeks, preeclampsia (also called toxemia) is high BP plus swelling, headaches, and most important, protein in the urine. Then eeclampsia is the sever form of preeclampsia that also includes seizures, and I also found there was HELP syndrome that is very rare and serious that involves all above plus liver function. I understand that all conditions are closely related and require close monitoring for the health of mom and baby. Am I anywhere close to understanding the phenomena of BP problems during pregnancy? Why is there so many terms so loosely thrown around and used interchangeably? I was under the impression I had toxemia with my first but then was told by my DR that it was only high BP and no other symptoms so it was preeclampsia. Then with my second child a nurse at the hospital told me that I was not preeclamptic but had PIH,which isn't as serious. Then at my six week checkup I tried to make sense of all the terms with my DR and came away more confused than ever. I was told at that point that preeclampsia, toxemia, and PIH are all the same, however the research I have seen is contrary to that. Please help me sort all of this out. Thank You.
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Re : gestational hypertension?

Postby expert on call » Thu Mar 06, 2003 08:28 pm

PIH--Pregnancy Induced Hypertension--newly high blood pressure without proteinuria; 1 in 4 cases turn into preeclampsia.
Gestational Hypertension (see PIH)
Toxemia--an older term for preeclampsia
Preeclampsia--newly high blood pressure140/90 BP+ and 2+ proteinuria after 20 weeks gestation only; Other symptoms are important but NOT diagnostic--that is not to say they should be ignored.
Eclampsia--seizures caused by cerebral edema after preeclampsia

There are also Ephegesis Gestosis, Chronic Hypertension Superimposed with Preeclampsia, etc...

HELLP Syndrome stands for Hemolyis, Elevated Liver Enzymes, Lowered Platelets. Women can also get HEL, or ELP. They are all variations on a theme. None are any fun.

This is because these terms work best for researchers who need to be very precise about what symptoms are involved. For our purposes--just being sick is enough. The Preeclampsia Foundation is NOT only about preeclampsia--but as our mission says--"and other hypertensive disorders of pregnancy." We use preeclampsia as an "inclusive" term because it is easier--but yet--there is a lot to be confused by!

Note: Since preeclampsia is "Pre- Eclampsia" you CAN have post-partum pre-eclampsia!

Hope that helps.

Expert on Call

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