Fast and dangerous. These are two potential features of pre-eclampsia, which is a serious illness associated with high blood pressure in pregnant women. By the way, the term preeclampsia is a word of Greek origin meaning lightning or lightning. It can happen to any pregnant woman during the second half of pregnancy or up to six months after giving birth. Recognizing it as early as possible is essential to ensure the health of the mother and infant, so that information about the disease is widely known not only by women, but also by the partner, family members and friends accompanying the pregnancy.

The numbers related to the disease are frightening. Pre-eclampsia affects 5 to 10% of pregnancies worldwide and is the leading cause of maternal and infant deaths, 75,000 and 500,000, respectively, each year. More than 99% of maternal deaths occur in poor or developing countries. In Latin America, it is responsible for one in four maternal deaths.

“In addition to the issue of mortality, preeclampsia is a common cause of prematurity, accounting for 20% of all admissions to intensive care units (ICUs), which is a worrying fact and shows all the attention that must be given to pregnant women and their babies,” warns Nelson Sass, Professor in the Department of Obstetrics at the Paulista Faculty of Medicine of the Federal University of São Paulo (EPM / Unifesp) and member of the Brazilian Network for Studies of Hypertension in Pregnancy (RBEHG).

For Sass, although the pathophysiology of pre-eclampsia is not yet fully understood and complete prevention remains challenging, the occurrence and consequences of pre-eclampsia can be avoided. “In the middle of the 21st century, we know very well what to do to treat high blood pressure during pregnancy and eliminate death from it, and this work necessarily includes information, so that pregnant women can recognize signs and symptoms early and seek medical help in time to start treatment. “.

The main symptoms that can define preeclampsia and that should be noted are severe headaches that do not go away with medication, swelling of the face and hands, weight gain of one kilogram or more in a week, difficulty breathing or breathing, nausea or vomiting after the first trimester of pregnancy, Vision loss or changes, such as blurring of bright lights, and abdominal pain on the right side, near the stomach.

These are some of the symptoms that can appear in isolation or in combination and may indicate a condition of high blood pressure and the need for medical intervention. The urgency is not without reason. Mothers may convulse and risk death. Babies are also at risk of dying or being born prematurely, ”professor Unifesp confirms.

Deepening the medical understanding of the disease is as important as the pregnant woman and her companions possessing this information.

In this sense, Sass explains, “doctors working for the RBEHG have proposed projects aimed at achieving ‘zero maternal mortality due to hypertension’, at the same time that the Brazilian Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (Febrasgo), with continuing education, is working on a discussion of toxicosis Pregnancy at conferences and in the issuance of treatment protocols and the behavior of health service providers, such as doctors, obstetricians and nurses, which is very appropriate, and seeks to highlight this serious national problem, which is arterial hypertension in pregnancy.

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