There is common misconception that high blood pressure (HBP or hypertension) rarely affects women. But according to the National Population Health Survey 2019, 14.5% of women aged 18 to 74 in Singapore are reported to have hypertension, with the prevalence increasing with age.
Like men, the risk factors that women face include age, family history, obesity, excessive alcohol consumption, tobacco use and stress. On top of that, health issues in various phases of women’s life, such as hormonal changes during menopause and gestational hypertension during pregnancy can also increase the risk of developing high blood pressure.
What is gestational hypertension?
Some women who have never had high blood pressure develop it while they are pregnant. A woman is diagnosed with gestational hypertension when her blood pressure readings are higher than 140/90 mmHg after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Although gestational hypertension usually goes away after childbirth, affected women may face an increased risk of developing hypertension in the future.
What is pre-eclampsia?
Gestational hypertension can also develop into pre-eclampsia, which is diagnosed with increased protein in the urine and signs of damage to other organ systems, including the kidneys, liver, blood or brain. Untreated pre-eclampsia can lead to severe – even fatal – complications for both mother and child, including the development of seizures (eclampsia). Pre-term delivery may be required to prevent potentially life-threatening complications.
Women with pre-eclampsia are more likely to develop hypertension and diabetes later in life, with increased risk for CVD.
Be sure to work closely with your family doctor or gynaecologist if you have any of the above complications.
Know the risk factors, signs and symptoms and manage the conditions.
Learn more about other pregnancy complications and risks of heart disease.
Health Talk – Hypertension and Pregnancy
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