Are your pregnant or planning for motherhood? Then you should be well aware of Preeclampsia, and the associated dangers of high blood pressure during pregnancy. But first, you need to understand a little about blood pressure in general.
Blood pressure is the pressure exerted on the walls of blood vessels by the blood gushing through them. This pressure is necessary to ensure the regular flow of blood through the vessels. Without this pressure, the distant areas and micro circulation units tend to lose nutrients. But when this pressure increases, it damages the vessel walls, releasing certain substances called clotting factors. These clotting factors initiate the clotting of blood, that leads to the blockage of micro vessels in circulation. This is the reason for heart attacks and strokes. In a normal person, blood pressure is regulated by various factors. But when this regulation fails and blood pressure becomes abnormal, it becomes a silent killer.
What is blood pressure during pregnancy?
If you have understood the above mechanism, the blood pressure during pregnancy is simply the elevation of blood pressure in a pregnant woman, who otherwise has a normal blood pressure.
What is Preeclampsia?
When you are pregnant, you have a fast growing fetus that depends on you for nutrition, support, and growth. So any alteration in the normal functioning of the body will have potentially adverse effects on the fetus, and the outcome of your pregnancy. This is why – When the blood pressure elevates, it damages the blood vessel walls. The clotting factors from the vessel wall initiate the cascade of blood clot formation. This leads to the formation of micro emboli, which grows and blocks important arteries in the body. It will initially reflect as excess protein in the urine because the protein absorption capacity is lowered. Then the emboli in the blood block the arteries in the brain, leading to seizures. An elevated blood pressure with protein in urine is known as preeclampsia, while it is called eclampsia when seizures set in.
Detection of Preeclampsia
There are the three main indicators:
- High blood pressure
- Fluid retention
- Protein in the urine
Symptoms of Preeclampsia
These are some symptoms to look out for:
- Abdominal pain just below the ribs
- Nausea and vomiting
- High blood pressure
- Changes in vision
Methods of Detection
The body contains neutrophils and T-cells. In pregnant women, the neutrophils in the blood act on the T-cells, stimulating the growth of the vasculature of the placental system. So a regular monitoring of these neutrophils and T-cells will help detect the possibility of preeclampsia. This can be used to monitor patients. For instance, if the levels are normal, the pregnant women can be monitored as outpatients, but if they fall in the region of risk, they can be monitored intensely.
Another test measures two definite proteins (or angiogenic biomarkers) that are released from the placenta. There is an elevation of one blood factor in preeclampsia, while the other factor decreases. A combination of these two tests can help detect who is at high risk of preeclampsia. The initial research shows promising results.
Furthermore, potential preeclampsia patients can be kept under regular supervision. The best of all methods is to visit your obstetrician or physician, who will be the best person to guide you. Remember that these tests are just a supplement to an examination by your doctor. So if you are pregnant, talk with your physician to learn more about these tests and how to tackle preeclampsia