This condition also known as Toxaemia is a condition that is more commonly developed by pregnant women. As the name implies, it is characterised by High Blood Pressure and a high percentage of Protein in the urine. It often presents itself as swelling in the feet, legs, and hands.
Preeclampsia may occur during early pregnancy but is more predominant during the second half of pregnancy, often in the latter part of the second or in the third trimesters.
If left undiagnosed, preeclampsia could lead to Eclampsia, a serious condition that can is harmful to both mother and baby and in rare cases may even lead to death.
There really is no cure for eclampsia which can be a scary prospect for mothers to be but help can be obtained by learning the symptoms of this condition and going to the clinic for regular pre natal care. Early detection actually makes it easier to manage.
Causes of Preeclampsia
Even though the exact causes of preeclampsia is not known, Experts believe that it results from the placenta (the organ that nourishes the foetus throughout pregnancy) not functioning properly. Other researchers suspect poor nutrition, high body fat, or insufficient blood flow to the uterus as possible causes. Genetics also plays a big role as well.
Who is most at Risk?
Preeclampsia most often presents itself in first-time pregnancies, pregnant teenagers and in women over 40. Other risk factors can include, a history of high blood pressure before pregnancy, an existing history of preeclampsia both in the pregnant mother, or immediate members of the family like a sister or mother, a history of obesity, a non-singleton pregnancy and a history of either Kidney disease, Lupus, Diabetes or Rheumatoid Arthritis.
What to look out for
In addition to the symptoms already stated, one should also look out for symptoms which may include:
- A rapid gain in body weight which may be caused by a significant increase in bodily fluid
- Abdominal pain
- Severe headaches
- Slow or sluggish reflexes
- Reduced urine or no urine output
- Excessive vomiting and nausea.
If you experience any of the under listed symptoms please seek medical care immediately
- 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.
- 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