Preeclampsia – What is it and Who Does it Affect?
Preeclampsia refers to high blood pressure and protein spillage in the urine after 20 weeks of pregnancy in a woman who had a normal blood pressure prior to getting pregnant. When the preeclampsia gets bad enough, a person may have a seizure. When this occurs the woman is said to have eclampsia. Normally, delivery of the baby is the treatment of choice to protect both the mother and the infant.
Preeclampsia in Pregnant Women
Mothers are at risk for recurrence of preeclampsia/eclampsia during their next pregnancy. Those who were diagnosed early on in the pregnancy and were noted to have been in critical condition have a 25-65% risk of reoccurrence. OBGYN doctors will watch you very closely and try to help prevent a recurrence.
Unfortunately, women diagnosed with preeclampsia are at greater risk than their counterparts for heart disease and stroke and should be treated aggressively by their provider for any risks they might have. Also, these women have an increased risk of kidney disease, including the need for dialysis. You may want to find out how much protein you currently are spilling in your urine. That helps the doctor make decisions regarding your care.
Precautions and Prevention Around Preeclampsia
My recommendation: make sure you see your doctor and focus on preventive care and goal rate attainment. If you note that you have a GFR of 60 or less, have residual protein in your urine, or have any concern regarding your kidney function, please feel free to make an appointment with a kidney specialist.
Original post date: May 2010. Revised: August 2019.
These blogs are written by members of the CHI Health Nephrology team.