What is the treatment of preeclampsia?

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Treatment of preeclampsia is necessitated following complications of the same. Preeclampsia is a condition that arises during pregnancy, and is linked to the occurrence of high blood pressure. This elevated pressure is often accompanied by the presence of protein in urine. Pregnant women may experience preeclampsia any time after the 20th week. In some cases, this extends up to six weeks postpartum (6 weeks after the baby has been born) although this is rare. Other names that have been used to describe preeclampsia include toxemia and toxemia of pregnancy. The occurrence of preeclampsia is common in the first pregnancy, although it may occur in subsequent pregnancies.

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What causes preeclampsia?

It is important to know the causes of this condition so that one can get to understand the proper course of treatment of preeclampsia. The precise cause of this condition remains unclear to date, but it is believed to arise from dysfunctional endothelial cells. Due to this, it is almost impossible to preempt when preeclampsia will occur as there are no tests that can be carried out. There are risk factors, however, which predispose women to getting preeclampsia. These risk factors could loosely be referred to as the causes of this condition. They include:

  • Women who get pregnant when they are above the age of 35
  • Existence of high blood pressure prior to pregnancy
  • Diabetes
  • Pregnant women who were overweight prior to their pregnancy.
  • Occurrence of preeclampsia in preceding pregnancies.
  • Preeclampsia has been linked to issues arising from the placenta such as excessive placental tissue, improper attachment of the placenta to uterine wall as well as very little placental tissue.

What are the symptoms of preeclampsia?

There are a number of symptoms that are associated with preeclampsia, but the most common is elevated blood pressure. In some cases, this is the only symptom, and which will vary from one individual to another. This increase may be minimal, or may be fatally high. Women with preeclampsia may also be unable to filter blood as the kidneys normally should. The result is excretion of protein into urine, and this can only be realized following a urine test. Other symptoms that must be looked into prior to treatment of preeclampsia include:

  • Sudden weight gain (more than 4 lbs in a fortnight).
  • Swollen hands.
  • Blurred vision that is accompanied by severe headache and in some cases, convulsions.

All these symptoms require immediate attention. The absolute treatment of preeclampsia is delivery of the baby, but this is not always viable. For this reason, the treatment options offered will be dependent on the stage of pregnancy and the severity of preeclampsia.

  • If the woman is close to her EDD, she may undergo induction to trigger labor.
  • In early pregnancy when induction may fail, Caesarean section is preferred. This is very important especially when the baby shows signs of distress.
  • In severe preeclampsia and with a premature baby, corticosteroids are administered to aid in lung maturation of the baby prior to delivery.
  • The patient must be monitored closely during treatment of preeclampsia as changes may occur very swiftly.

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