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High blood pressure risk remains for 12 months after preeclampsia

Tuesday 6th February 2018
UK nurses need to monitor new mothers blood pressure more closely, after research revealed the risks associated with preeclampsia can remain for a year following birth. Image credit: bowdenimages via iStock
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More blood pressure checks may need to be carried out on new mothers by nurses, as new research has revealed those who suffer from preeclampsia remain at risk of high blood pressure and associated problems for up to a year afterwards.

A study conducted by scientists based at the Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam, Holland has found that new mothers' blood pressure is not being monitored closely enough in the 12 months after they have given birth.

When a sample of 200 women had their blood pressure - which they believed to be normal - checked, 17.5 per cent were found to be suffering from high blood pressure.

It is thought that these cases of potentially dangerous hypertension may be being missed because GPs typically only quickly test blood pressure, suggesting that much closer monitoring is needed in the future, particularly among those who suffered from preeclampsia.

Overall, the researchers predicted that more than half (56 per cent) of cases of high blood pressure would be missed if test results were based only on doctors' readings.

Even though blood pressure levels are meant to naturally fall at night time, this was not the case for 46 per cent of the study participants, again indicating potentially serious health issues that were being missed by doctors and nurses due to testing not being thorough enough.

High blood pressure at night can increase the risk of heart disease and fatal strokes, and 42.5 per cent of the women tested were found to be suffering from this.

As a result, it is clear that much closer monitoring at different times of day and amid different circumstances is needed in order to make sure all new mothers are being kept as safe as possible and that any suspected problems can be dealt with quickly.

Speaking to BBC News, Katharine Jenner of the charity Blood Pressure UK commented: "The fact that over half of cases are being missed just a year after giving birth is quite shocking, as we know GPs are looking out for it.

"The results of this small study should encourage all women who have had preeclampsia to help out their GP by using a blood pressure monitor at home and trying to gauge a true reflection of their blood pressure."

Written by James Puckle

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