Wednesday November 20, 2019

Simple, Low-Cost Way to Predict Preeclampsia

In Ghana, it's responsible for 18 per cent of maternal deaths, said Enoch Anto, the study researcher from Edith Cowan University in Australia

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Preeclampsia, Maternal, Foetal
In developing nations, preeclampsia is a leading cause of death for both mothers and babies. Pixabay

Researchers have developed a simple, low-cost way to predict preeclampsia, one of the leading causes of maternal-foetal mortality worldwide.

Preeclampsia can cause devastating complications for women and babies, including brain and liver injury in mothers and premature birth.

“In developing nations, preeclampsia is a leading cause of death for both mothers and babies. In Ghana, it’s responsible for 18 per cent of maternal deaths,” said Enoch Anto, the study researcher from Edith Cowan University in Australia.

“But it can be treated using medication that lowers blood pressure once diagnosed,” Anto added.

Preeclampsia, Maternal, Foetal
Preeclampsia can cause devastating complications for women and babies, including brain and liver injury in mothers and premature birth. Pixabay

For the study published in the EPMA Journal, researchers assessed the health status of over 500 pregnant Ghanaian women using Suboptimal Health Questionnaire. Combining scores for fatigue, heart health, digestion, immunity and mental health, the questionnaire provides an overall “suboptimal health score” that can help predict chronic diseases.

The researchers found that 61 per cent of women who scored high on the questionnaire went on to develop preeclampsia, compared with just 17 per cent of women who scored low.

When these results were combined with blood tests that measured women’s calcium and magnesium levels, the researchers were able to accurately predict the development of preeclampsia in almost 80 per cent of cases.

According to the researchers, preeclampsia was very treatable once identified, so providing an early warning could save thousands of lives.

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“Both blood tests for magnesium and calcium and the Suboptimal Health Questionnaire are inexpensive, making this ideally suited to the developing world where preeclampsia causes the most suffering,” Anto said. (IANS)

Next Story

Preeclampsia Test can Quickly Identify Dangerous Condition During Pregnancy

Researchers at the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center have developed a fast, easy test to diagnose preeclampsia

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pregnancy
A new test can quickly identify a common and dangerous condition during pregnancy and help keep mothers and babies healthy and safe. VOA

A new test can quickly identify preeclampsia, a common and dangerous condition during pregnancy and help keep mothers and babies healthy and safe.

When Jessi Prizinsky was pregnant with her first child, her feet started swelling.

“Well, you hear, everybody tell you, you know, the swollen ankles, and get your feet up and all that,” Prizinsky said. “That was where I thought, ‘OK.’ And then it started to be, it kind of looks like it’s in my arms and hands, too.”

Most women expect some swelling when they are pregnant. But these symptoms can also be signs of preeclampsia.

It’s a complication of pregnancy that raises the mother’s blood pressure and affects the blood flow to the placenta. This can lead to smaller or premature babies. Untreated, it can be fatal to mom, or baby, or both.

pregnancy
Most women expect some swelling when they are pregnant. But these symptoms can also be signs of preeclampsia. Pixabay

Fast, easy test developed

Researchers at the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center have developed a fast, easy test to diagnose preeclampsia. That’s where Dr. Kara Rood practices maternal and fetal medicine.

“One of the hard parts with preeclampsia is there’s a lot of symptoms of just pregnancy alone, and other medical conditions that have similar symptoms that the women experience, like high blood pressure, headaches, changes in vision. Those can be attributed to a lot of other things,” Rood said.

Preeclampsia is more serious if it occurs earlier in the pregnancy, or in a woman who had high blood pressure before getting pregnant.

Rood says managing this condition early is best for both mothers and babies.

Pixabay
Researchers at the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center have developed a fast, easy test to diagnose preeclampsia. That’s where Dr. Kara Rood practices maternal and fetal medicine. Pixabay

“Without the certainty of this test aiding in the diagnosis,” she said, “we as providers are definitely overcautious, as this is definitely something we don’t want to miss because of the life-threatening results of a misdiagnosis for moms and babies.”

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Listen to your body

Because of her preeclampsia, Prizinsky was induced three weeks early. She had a successful second pregnancy and has this advice for other women.

“The biggest thing is listening to your body,” she said.

The test is so easy, women can take it at home, and preeclampsia can be treated as soon as it develops. The researchers expect the test to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration in the next few years. (VOA)