Every 22nd May every year is World Preeclampsia Day. We support a worldwide initiative to raise awareness of preeclampsia and its global impact on the lives of mothers, babies and families.
We consolidate to highlight the common occurrence and devastating impact of preeclampsia, eclampsia, and other hypertensive disorders of pregnancy. Globally, hypertensive disorders of pregnancy complicate 8-10% of pregnancies.
They account for 76,000 maternal and 500,000 infant deaths every year. They are a leading cause of maternal and perinatal morbidity and mortality. In low- and middle-income countries, hypertensive disorders of pregnancy account for about 16% of maternal deaths.
Preeclampsia frequently causes preterm delivery and accounts for about 20% of all neonates admitted to neonatal intensive care units (NICU). Besides preterm birth, babies born to women with preeclampsia will probably have low-birth weights. Stunting and death are other common complications.
The risk of stroke due to hypertension is accentuated both before and after delivery. Such women may develop chronic hypertension, as well as other cardiovascular diseases. It contributes to the increasing prevalence of non-communicable diseases around the world. The risk of developing an end-stage renal disease in preeclamptic women is about 3 to 5 times higher than in women without this disorder.
Low- and middle-income countries continue to be hit by non-communicable diseases, and it isn’t surprising that about 99% of women with preeclampsia are in these countries. Such countries underscore the significance of early detection and prevention, symptom recognition, and timely, as well as effective response by trained healthcare providers. Furthermore, access to peripartum care is limited. Maternal deaths due to hypertensive disorders of pregnancy are preventable if the level of complacency in such regions – both the community and healthcare providers, is mitigated.
Severe headache, chest pain, swelling feet, face and hands, difficulty in breathing, nausea after mid-pregnancy, weight gain of more than 2.3 kg in one week, and changes in vision (spots, light flashes, or vision loss) exemplify the various symptoms related to hypertensive disorders of pregnancy.
Because there’s no known cause attributable to the disorders, there’s a need to accelerate the basic and clinical research to advance our understanding of these conditions.
To reduce the effects of hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, we should support all efforts that;
1. Call upon governments and health systems to envision the significance of detecting and diagnosing risk factors, and preventing and treating the hypertensive disorders of pregnancy.
2. Encourage additional research funding into preeclampsia and related disorders.
3. Conduct patient and community education and treatment for these disorders.
4. Enhance access to medical resources for healthcare providers.
5. Address prevention through a better understanding of the causes and access to appropriate, safe, and effective treatments.
6. Encourage collaboration and partnerships between the public and private sectors to support and advance these goals.
As we commemorate the World Preeclampsia day, we must continue creating community awareness. We enhance access to the latest clinical guidelines about hypertensive disorders and their related non-communicable diseases around the globe, either as individuals or in partnerships. It will enable us to mitigate the devastating effects of such disorders. Together we can accomplish more.
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