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What is preeclampsia?

Preeclampsia is the name given to a pregnancy disorder that appears when awoman is 20 weeks pregnant. High blood pressure and excessive amount of proteinin a woman’s urine are two main features of this condition. At the beginning,the blood pressure is not very high, but when preeclampsia is untreated, it progressesand can cause very serious complications for the mother and for the child.

Symptoms of preeclampsia

Preeclampsia can be mild, moderate, or severe. The most frequent symptoms of this disease are high blood pressure andproteinuria, or excessive levels of protein in the urine. Some women mayexperience severe headaches or nausea and vomiting. Certain problems with eyesmay occur, such as blurred vision, temporary loss of vision or hypersensitivityto light. Moreover, there are cases where upper abdominal pain on the right sideappears, but also, dizziness, reduced urination and sudden gaining of the weight may occuras some of the symptoms. Sometimes this disease is accompanied withswelling of the hands and face as well.

Complications of preeclampsia

The delivery of the baby is the only solution when preeclampsia is diagnosed, and in most cases, healthy babies are born. Because of preeclampsia, induced laborand delivery by Caesarian section are necessary. The complications that usually occur as the results of preeclampsia are thelack of blood flow to the placenta, placental abruption and HELLP syndrome, aswell as eclampsia and cardiovascular disease.

Due to preeclampsia and the fact that it affects the arteries that transmit the blood to theplacenta, the placenta is not supplied with needed amounts of blood, so it isvery common that the baby does not get enough oxygen and nutrients. All thiscan cause serious complications for the baby, such as slow growth or low birth weightand problems with breathing.Preeclampsia may be also responsible for the placenta’s separation from theinner wall of the uterus. As a result of placental abruption, severe bleedingthat is dangerous for the mother and the child may occur.HELLP syndrome is a complication also induced by preeclampsia and includeshemolysis, elevated liver enzymes and low platelet count. The main warning signsfor this syndrome are nausea and vomiting, as well as headache and pain in upperright abdominal region.Eclampsia is a very serious complication of preeclampsia, because it can cause somedamages to the brain, liver or kidneys, whereas in most serious cases, comaand death of the mother and child may be the final outcome.Untreated preeclampsia may lead to some cardiovascular disease also.

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