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Heart Association Guidelines Recognize Preeclampsia's Effect on Risk

Last Updated on Monday, February 28, 2011

In an unprecedented move, the American Heart Association (AHA) updated its cardiovascular disease prevention guidelines for womenlast month to recognize preeclampsia and other pregnancy complications as risk factors for cardiovascular diseases (CVD), such as heart attack and stroke.

According to the AHA's press release: "[W]omen with a history of preeclampsia face double the risk of stroke, heart disease and dangerous clotting in veins during the five to 15 years after pregnancy. Essentially, having pregnancy complications can now be considered equivalent to having failed a stress test."

The updated guidelines are an exciting accomplishment for the Preeclampsia Foundation, which has long advocated for the recognition of preeclampsia as an important risk marker for cardiovascular disease. The Foundation joins a list of more than 20 professional and lay organizations who endorse the report. Executive Director Eleni Tsigas explained: “[The new guidelines] recommend a pregnancy history for all women when assessing cardiovascular risk and count preeclampsia, gestational diabetes and pregnancy induced hypertension as part of the risk scoring. Unfortunately, they do not differentiate early onset and recurrent preeclampsia as being especially high risk. Nonetheless, it is encouraging to see that healthcare providers are being asked to include pregnancy history as an important and relevant part of a patient’s medical history.”

As “at risk” individuals, preeclampsia survivors should educate themselves about cardiovascular disease and available mechanisms for risk reduction. Stop smoking, improve your diet, and exercise regularly. Most importantly, always talk to your healthcare provider about your pregnancy history and how you can work together to reduce your risk for future heart disease.

Additional information and recommendations for preeclampsia survivors can be found in the Preeclampsia Foundation’s "Preeclampsia and Heart Disease" brochure.


We’ll be Speaking Here

International Society for the study of Hypertension in Pregnancy
October 23, 2016
San Paulo, Brazil


Mississippi Perinatal Quality Collaborative
October 24, 2016
Illinois Perinatal Quality Collaborative Annual Meeting
November 3, 2016
Lombard, IL
Florida Perinatal Quality Collaborative
Preeclampsia Experts - Florida Road Tour
November 8-10, 2016
Multiple Florida Locations
Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses
November 17, 2016
Monroe Township, New Jersey
Grand Rounds, University of Miami
December 15, 2016
Miami, Florida

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