Underlying Medical Issues and Pre-eclampsia

Posted On: February 4, 2016 By Andrei Rebarber, MD

At times there may be difficulty to differentiate between the presence of preeclampsia or an another underlying chronic medical condition. Many women with underlying health complications, such as chronic hypertension, renal disease, diabetes and vascular diseases are all at risk for the development of pre-eclampsia. The diagnosis of preeclampsia in this population may be very difficult to differentiate from the underlying medical conditions as signs and symptoms may overlap.

For example, great confusion can arise when attempting to determine if an exacerbation of Lupus is in fact simply a lupus flare or the development of pre-eclampsia. Clinical experience, thorough evaluation of all laboratory testing, and proper expertise in the topic should allow for the astute clinician to determine which disorder is occurring and then the proper treatment may be instituted.

If there is a pregnant patient with a history of chronic hypertension the patient may develop superimposed pre-eclampsia if her blood pressure continues to rise, despite use of her medication. Generally, these patients will be treated and monitored just like pre-eclamptic patients while maintaining a close surveillance on the well-being of the mother and fetus if delivery is not advised.

More than likely, if you are suffering from chronic hypertension and believe to have superimposed pre-eclampsia, the doctor will determine the best course of action for you. They will counsel you about the potential complications and risks involved, and educate you about signs and symptoms before making a decision on the timing and route of delivery.

Updated and regular appointments with a maternal-fetal specialist in patients with chronic underlying medical conditions can help determine the best management strategies during a pregnancy.

Carnegie Imaging for Women blogs are intended for educational purposes only and do not replace certified professional care. Medical conditions vary and change frequently. Please ask your doctor any questions you may have regarding your condition to receive a proper diagnosis or risk analysis. Thank you!

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