The terms pregnancy-induced hypertension and preeclampsia are often used interchangeably, which may cause significant confusion. Pregnancy-induced hypertension, preeclampsia and eclampsia should actually be considered as a spectrum of hypertensive disorders in pregnancy.
Preeclampsia is a complex disorder of the placenta usually occurring in the third trimester of pregnancy, and involving several body systems. Also known as gestational hypertension, pregnancy-induced hypertension or toxemia, it is defined as a triad of hypertension, proteinuria (protein in the urine) and generalized edema (swelling in the face, hands and legs).
Preeclampsia complicates 5-10% of all pregnancies. Women under the age of 20 are at highest risk.
For most women, the disease resolves within 24 hours of delivery. However, preeclampsia can progress into a life-threatening situation (eclampsia) for both the mother and the fetus.
The goals of therapy for preeclampsia are the safety of the mother and the delivery of a healthy newborn as close as possible to full gestation. The only "cure" for preeclampsia is the delivery of the baby. The decision to deliver the baby early is dependent on the severity of the disease and the status of the mother and child.
The Medifocus Guide on Preeclampsia provides answers to the following important questions and medical issues:
What are the most common symptoms of preeclampsia?
Are there any recognized risk factors for developing preeclampsia?
What kinds of medical tests are used to establish the diagnosis of preeclampsia?
What is the current standard of care for the treatment of preeclampsia?
What treatment options are available for the management of preeclampsia?
Are there any promising new developments or potential breakthroughs in treatment?
Who are the most notable medical authorities who specialize in preeclampsia?
Where are the leading hospitals and centers of research for preeclampsia?
What are the most important questions to ask my doctor about preeclampsia?
What Your Doctor Reads:
This MediFocus Guide contains an extensive listing of citations and abstracts of recent journal articles that have been published about this condition in trustworthy medical journals. This is the same type of information that is available to physicians and other health care professionals. A partial selection of journal articles that are abstracted in this MediFocus Guide includes:
Same nutrient, different hypotheses: disparities in trials of calcium supplementation during pregnancy. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2000
Magnesium sulfate in eclampsia and pre-eclampsia: pharmacokinetic principles. Clinical Pharmacokinetics. 2000
Plasma volume expansion for treatment of women with pre-eclampsia. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews [computer file]. 2000
Calcium supplementation during pregnancy for preventing hypertensive disorders and related problems. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews [computer file]. 2000
Antiplatelet agents for preventing and treating pre-eclampsia. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews [computer file]. 2000
Anticonvulsants for women with pre-eclampsia. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews [computer file]. 2000
Abdominal decompression for suspected fetal compromise/pre-eclampsia. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews [computer file]. 2000
Preeclampsia prevention and management. Journal of the Society for Gynecologic Investigation. 2000
Can murine uterine natural killer cells give insights into the pathogenesis of preeclampsia?. Journal of the Society for Gynecologic Investigation. 2000
Calcium, nitric oxide, and preeclampsia. Seminars in Perinatology. 2000
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