Preterm birth (PTB) may help predict cardiovascular disease risk in women
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says ten percent of deliveries in the United States are preterm deliveries in 2017. The number of preterm deliveries is increasing over the last three years. Earlier studies show preterm delivery causes serious health outcome for the baby or preemies and not to the mother.
A current study shows even a mother of the newborn (or preemies) will be at an enhanced risk of heart diseases. The study found an association between preterm birth and cardiovascular risk in the mother.
The study shows those women who gave preterm delivery may likely to experience increased blood pressure during their childbearing years (usually between 15 and 44 years in women's life). Increased blood pressure or hypertension is a major risk factor for coronary artery calcification (CAC). Coronary artery calcification is a predictor of future stroke and heart attacks.
Researchers have conducted 25 years of follow-up studies on 1,049 women. About 50 percent of them are white and the remaining are black.
The study result shows a significantly higher heart disease risk among women who gave preterm birth (PTB), especially among African-American women. They are at enhanced risk for blood patterns (blood pressure fluctuations over 24 hours) and calcium build-up in the heart.
Experts think pregnancy puts considerable stress on the vascular health of the women. Experts say healthcare professionals should ask about women's pregnancy history, check their blood pressure patterns and should periodically check blood pressure.
Authors of the study say women should disclose their pregnancy complications to their doctors to take preventive measures and prevent future hypertension events.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Heart Association has issued a joint advisory for those women who had events such as gestational diabetes, preeclampsia or preterm delivery. They say healthcare professionals should take measures to control the blood pressure of those women who had pregnancy complications before they experience high blood pressure. They say there should be a better collaboration between the obstetrician-gynecologist (OB-GYN) and the heart specialist while treating heart diseases of a woman with pregnancy complications or delivered preterm birth. A woman who had complications during pregnancy should self-monitor their blood pressure in addition to checking with healthcare professionals. Those women should take measures to reduce the risk of hypertension.
Researchers are planning to conduct studies to find out the association between preterm delivery and cardiovascular diseases with changes in lifestyle, nutrition, and genetic factors.
The lead author of the study was Janet M. Catov, Ph.D, MS, Associate Professor, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences and the Department of Epidemiology, University of Pittsburgh. The study findings were published May 23, 2018 in the journal Hypertension. Title of the article was "Blood Pressure Patterns and Subsequent Coronary Artery Calcification in Women Who Delivered Preterm Births."
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Risk of blood pressure : See risk of hypertension.
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Published by Jammi Vasista, Chennai, India.