GenPE - Estudio de Genes Candidatos en Preeclampsia

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PREECLAMPSIA

¿WHAT IS PREECLAMPSIA?

Preeclampsia is a frequent disorder of pregnancy, characterized for an increment of the arterial pressure and lose of proteins by the urine; this disorder can occur in the second half of pregnancy and can be very dangerous for the mother’s and baby’s life. In Latin-America the 25.7% of all maternal and perinatal deaths are caused by preeclampsia, and in Colombia is the first cause of maternal and perinatal mortality, becoming a disease with a great impact on the maternal and newborn health.

¿WHY PREECLAMPSIA OCCURS?

To date, the mechanisms that cause this disease (aetiology) are not totally understood; and as a consequence there are not clearly efficient strategies for its early detection or prevention.
This disorder has a familiar (genetic) compound. Women with a mother or sister with history of preeclampsia, have a higher risk of suffering the disease when they become pregnant.


¿WHICH ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF PREECLAMPSIA?

The initial symptoms of preeclampsia can pass unnoticed because they can be confused with the normal characteristics or pregnancy such as increment of weight or liquid retention (oedema).
In the early stages of the disease, it can be unnoticed or it can present some general symptoms, that if they are presented, they must be informed to de physician, those symptoms are:

  • Body weight increase of more than 4 pounds in a week
  • Intense and persistent headache
  • Dizziness
  • Ringing of bussing in the ears
  • Somnolence
  • Blurred vision
  • Intolerance to light
  • To view little bright stars
  • A little amount of urine or absence of urine.
  • Presence or blood in the urine
  • Acceleration in the frequency of the heart’s beats.
  • Excessive Nausea
  • Stomach-ache

All these symptoms are non-specific, and can be caused by many reasons; because of that the necessity of assist periodically to prenatal control and to learn how to recognize the alarm sings and to accomplish all the suggestions done by the physician or the nurse.
The best known strategy for the detection of preeclampsia is to accomplish with an adequate prenatal controls. To attend at the controls in a timely manner, allows a periodic measurement of blood pressure and a study of urine to detect the presence of proteins in the urine (proteinuria).

¿HOW IS PREECLAMPSIA DIAGNOSED?

As described previously, preeclampsia is defined as the presence of hypertension and proteinuria during the second half of pregnancy.
1. Hypertension: makes reference to the presence of increased high blood pressure, with a systolic blood pressure of 140 mm Hg or more, and/or diastolic blood pressure of 90 mm Hg or more. The arterial pressure can vary along the day depending on the activities the person do, and for that it is required a strict control that allows finding any alteration.
2. Proteinuria: is the presence of proteins in the urine, determined in the laboratory. The proteins in the urine can be measured in the urine collected at any time, or in the urine collected during a period of 24 hours; the last one allows a more specific detection of the amount of proteins in the urine.


¿IF I HAVE HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE, DO I HAVE PREECLAMPSIA?

If you have high blood pressure, you must attend to your physician, he will evaluate you and will make a control of your pressure at several times, to be sure that you have hypertension. You must known that the presence of hypertension is not the only finding in preeclampsia, so having high blood pressure is not the same that having preeclampsia, but is a serious finding that must be carefully treated by the physician.

 

¿WHO ARE IN RISK OF SUFFERING PREECLAMPSIA?

Women at high risk of preeclampsia are:

  • Women with mother or sister(s) with history of preeclampsia.
  • Women with multiple pregnancy
  • Primiparous women (women who are in their fist pregnancy)
  • Teenagers
  • Women older than 40 years old.
  • Women who suffer from other diseases such as having hypertension before pregnancy or diabetes.


IF I HAVE HYPERTENSION BEFORE PREGNANCY ¿CAN I DEVELOP PREECLAMPSIA?

The presence of hypertension before pregnancy or during the fist half of it, is what is known as Chronic hypertension.  In this case, there are controls for the arterial pressure and for the fetal growth more frequently, because having chronic hypertension increases the risk of develop preeclampsia, but does not implies that all women with chronic hypertension are going to have preeclampsia.


¿WHICH IS THE TREATMENT FOR PREECLAMPSIA?

The treatment varies upon the severity of the disease and the time of gestation (gestational age). If the patient has not reach the 37 week of pregnancy and the disease is mild, the physician will probably recommend having some rest, anti-hypertensive medication and a close and strict follow of the disease and the baby’s health. If the disorder progresses, the patient may need to be hospitalized with aggressive treatment, and will probably need to be program an earlier delivery date. All this information will be given by the physician according to the conditions of each patient.

¿IS PREECLAMPSIA DANGEROUS FOR MY BABY OR FOR ME?

Most of the time preeclampsia happens in the last weeks of pregnancy, and with an adequate prenatal control, rest and supervision of the baby, there are not significant risk for the baby or mother health.
As mentioned in the beginning, this disease affects the mother’s health as well as the baby’s health. As sooner start the disease, the bigger are the risks for both, the mother and the baby.

Preeclampsia produces a reduction in the blood flow to important maternal organs such as the brain, liver, kidneys and the placenta; the affectation of the last one, produces a reduction in the amount of oxygen and nutriments that reach the baby, causing low birth weight  in the baby and/or other problems for the newborn.



 

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