Preeclampsia - What is preeclampsia, its causes and symptoms

Author: Health Tips

What Is Preeclampsia? Formerly called toxemia, preeclampsia is a condition that pregnant women develop. It is marked by high blood pressure in women who have previously not experienced high blood pressure before. Preeclamptic women will have a high level of protein in their urine and often also have swelling in the feet, legs, and hands. This condition usually appears late in pregnancy, generally after the 20 week mark, although it can occur earlier. If undiagnosed, preeclampsia can lead to eclampsia, a serious condition that can put you and your baby at risk, and in rare cases, cause death. Women with preeclampsia who have seizures are considered to have eclampsia.

There's no way to cure preeclampsia, and that can be a scary prospect for moms-to-be. But you can help protect yourself by learning the symptoms of preeclampsia and by seeing your doctor for regular prenatal care. When preeclampsia is caught early, it's easier to manage. What Causes Preeclampsia? The exact cause of preeclampsia is unknown. Experts believe it begins in the placenta — the organ that nourishes the fetus throughout pregnancy. Early in pregnancy, new blood vessels develop and evolve to efficiently send blood to the placenta.

In women with preeclampsia, these blood vessels don't seem to develop properly. They're narrower than normal blood vessels and react differently to hormonal signaling, which limits the amount of blood that can flow through them. Causes of this abnormal development may include: Insufficient blood flow to the uterus. Damage to the blood vessels. A problem with the immune system. Certain genes. What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Preeclampsia? In addition to swelling, protein in the urine, and high blood pressure, preeclampsia symptoms can include: Rapid weight gain caused by a significant increase in bodily fluid. Abdominal pain.

Severe headaches. Change in reflexes. Reduced urine or no urine output. Dizziness. Excessive vomiting and nausea. Vision changes. You should seek care right away if you have: Sudden and new swelling in your face, hands, and eyes (some feet and ankle swelling is normal during pregnancy.). Blood pressure greater than 140/90.

Preeclampsia - What is preeclampsia, its causes and symptoms

Sudden weight gain over 1 or 2 days. Abdominal pain, especially in the upper right side. Severe headaches. A decrease in urine. Blurry vision, flashing lights, and floaters. You can also have preeclampsia and not have any symptoms. That's why it's so important to see your doctor for regular blood pressure checks and urine tests. How Can Preeclampsia Affect My Baby and Me? Preeclampsia can prevent the placenta from receiving enough blood, which can cause your baby to be born very small.

It is also one of the leading causes of premature births, and the complications that can follow, including learning disabilities, epilepsy, cerebral palsy, hearing and vision problems. In moms-to-be, preeclampsia can cause rare but serious complications that include: Stroke. Seizure.

Water in the lungs. Heart failure. Reversible blindness. Bleeding from the liver. Bleeding after you've given birth.

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Preeclampsia - What is preeclampsia, its causes and symptoms

What Is Preeclampsia? Formerly called toxemia, preeclampsia is a condition that pregnant women develop. It is marked by high blood pressure in women who have previously not experienced…

By: Health Tips