WOMEN who develop pre-eclampsia during pregnancy have a five-fold increased risk of end-stage kidney disease (ESKD) later in life compared to those who do not, according to a new UCC study.
The study, conducted by Dr Ali Khashan of UCC and colleagues in Sweden and the UK, was published this week in the PLOS Medicine journal.
Pre-eclampsia is a condition that affects some pregnant women, usually during the second half of pregnancy or soon after their baby is delivered.
Early signs of pre-eclampsia include having high blood pressure and the presence of protein in urine. In some cases, further symptoms can develop, including severe headaches, vision problems and swelling of the feet, face and hands.
“Pre-eclampsia increases the risk of end-stage kidney disease in mothers, however, the risk remains small,” said Dr Khashan, of the Public Health and Epidemiology and INFANT centre at UCC.
“This research demonstrates that again, complicated pregnancies may have long-standing adverse effects on maternal health.
“Future research needs to focus on modifiable risk factors and how we may monitor and screen women after complicated pregnancies to reduce these long-term risks and improve long term health,” he added.
As the rate of kidney disease has increased in recent years, it has become clear that more women have pre-dialysis kidney disease than men and it was thought that the development of pre-eclampsia during pregnancy played a role in that increase.
In the new study, researchers analysed data from the Swedish Medical Birth Register on 1,366,441 healthy women with 2,665,320 singleton live births in Sweden between 1982 and 2012.
The data revealed that women who had pre-eclampsia in at least one pregnancy were nearly five times more likely to have ESKD than women who had never had it.
The incidence rate of ESKD per 100,000 person-years was 1.85 among women with no history of pre-eclampsia and 12.35 among women with a history of pre-eclampsia.