Pregnancy can be an exciting time for many women, but it also comes with some risks, including high blood pressure. And according to a recent study, high blood pressure during pregnancy may affect kidney health later in life.
This study found that preeclampsia during pregnancy was associated with a higher likelihood of future kidney failure.
Preeclampsia is a condition where there is high blood pressure and extra protein in the urine after 20 weeks of pregnancy in a woman who previously had normal blood pressure. Left untreated, it can lead to serious, even fatal, complications for the mom and baby.
The study was led by Andrea G. Kattah, MD, who is with the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.
Preeclampsia has been linked recently to kidney failure later in life. But the extent of this link and how a woman's other medical issues play into it has been unclear.
A total of 8,362 residents of Olmsted County, Minnesota who gave birth from 1976 to 1982 were studied.
Kidney failure cases found among those residents were compared to the United States Renal Data System records. Two control patients (without kidney failure but otherwise similar) were matched to each case.
The researchers identified a total of 20 kidney failure cases. On average, patients were 52.6 years old when they were diagnosed with kidney failure.
A total of 40 percent of the kidney failure cases had previously been diagnosed with preeclampsia or eclampsia (seizures in pregnant women), while only 12.5 percent of controls had preeclampsia or eclampsia.
The cases were more likely to have diabetes and high blood pressure than the controls. However, after adjusting for diabetes and hypertension, the association was small and therefore not significant.
"Preeclampsia is associated with a higher odds of end stage renal disease. However, after adjusting for diabetes and hypertension, the association was attenuated and no longer significant," the investigators said a press release.
The authors said further studies are needed to confirm the link between preeclampsia and end stage kidney disease.
The study was presented at American Society of Nephrology Kidney Week 2013 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta.
The authors reported receiving funding from the National Institute on Aging and the Society for Women’s Health Research Interdisciplinary Studies In Sex Differences Network award.