Factoring In Gender: Women’s Health Research at Yale

October 19, 2011 by  
Filed under VIDEO

I just found this health related video on YouTube … and thought you might enjoy it!

youtube.com/watch?v=rsds9tD1viM%3Fversion%3D3%26f%3Dvideos%26app%3Dyoutube_gdata

Scientists and community members speak about a variety of topics including: 1) the dramatic need for scientific information on women’s health and on gender-specific factors determining health and disease; 2) the scientific tradition of excluding women as participants in many clinical trials, and the continuing practice of “pooling” subject data rather than analyzing health outcomes by gender that have each contributed to this “knowledge gap,”; 3) the progress being made in reversing these historical trends, and; 4) new scientific information being uncovered in women’s health and gender-specific medicine.

Tell us what you think about this video in the comments below, or in the Battling For Health Community Forum!

Preeclampsia: hypertension during pregnancy

September 14, 2010 by  
Filed under HEART AND STROKE

You could be young, healthy, and fit with no history of hypertension. But suddenly, your blood pressure skyrockets to hypertensive levels. And the main reason is – pregnancy.

Preeclampsia, usually used synonymously with pregnancy-induced hypertension, occurs when the blood pressure of a pregnant woman increases dramatically within a short period of time usually during the second half of her pregnancy. This leads to hypertension, kidney damage, inflammation, preterm delivery and premature babies with low birth weights and presents a serious risk to the mother and to the baby. According to FamilyDoctor.org, preeclampsia commonly occurs:

  • in women having their first pregnancy
  • in women carrying multiples
  • in women with family history of preeclampsia
  • in pregnant teenagers and those above 40
  • in women with hypertension or kidney problems before they got pregnant

The real cause of preeclampsia hasn´t been identified. It affects about 2 to 8% of pregnancies, making it one of the leading causes of maternal and fetal complications and death worldwide.

There are ways of lowering one’s risk for preeclampsia, as summarized by the 2 studies below.

Blood pressure monitoring

Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM) could help identify women with early-onset severe preeclampsia who are most likely to require early delivery according to South African researchers.

They found that by monitoring both diastolic blood pressure (DBP) and day-night blood pressure difference (DND) and combining the mean values, the onset of preeclampsia can be predicted.

The research “studied 44 women presenting with severe pre-eclampsia between 28 and 34 weeks’ gestation, who they managed expectantly for 8 days. They measured the women’s blood pressure every 30 minutes with an automated monitor for 24-hour periods on alternate days.”

The researcher observed that Caesarean sections are significantly lower among pregnant women with normal DND and mean DBP. These women also had, on the average, longer pregnanciey and less very premature babies. Only one delivered before 32 weeks’ gestation.

The authors conclude:

“The combination of mean [DBP and DND] may be a supplementary measurement of disease severity in early onset severe pre-eclampsia and seems to be of prognostic value”

Preeclampsia and exercise

This study involved 79 women who had a previous history of pre-eclampsia and had a sedentary lifestyle. The study compared two types of exercise regime: a 40-minute moderate‑intensity walk 5 times a week and a slow, non-aerobic stretching exercise program accompanying a 40-minute video 5 times a week.

The results of the study are as follows:

15% of women in the walking group developed preeclampsia. Only 5% of women in the stretching group developed the condition.

It seems that stretching had a more protective effect against pregnancy-induced hypertension than walking. The researchers believe that stretching may induce more production of transferrin, which is

“a plasma protein that transports iron through the blood and protects against oxidative stress on the body, and that helps guard against preeclampsia.”

However, walking and other moderate forms of exercise are beneficial to the mother’s as well as the baby’s health in general, as posted before. At the same time, any form of exercise regime during pregnancy should only be performed after consultation with your doctor.

Preeclampsia may not just be a temporary pregnancy complication

February 25, 2009 by  
Filed under HEART AND STROKE

Preeclampsia belongs to a group of hypertensive disorders of pregnancy. Other related disorders are pregnancy-induced hypertension and toxaemia. These conditions can cause life-threatening pregnancy complications that endanger both the mother and the baby.

The conditions are all characterized by elevated blood pressure during the second half of pregnancy but in addition, preeclampsia is characterized by increased concentrations of proteins in the urine.

About 10% of pregnancies are affected by pregnancy-induced hypertension while preeclampsia affects 5 to8% of pregnancies. Preeclampsia is common in low-income countries, where it occurs in about 1 out of every 100 up to 1 out of 700 pregnancies. In contrast, it estimated to occur in about 1 in 1000 pregnancies (Source: Clinical Evidence BMJ).

Aside from high blood pressure, symptoms of preeclampsia also include “swelling, sudden weight gain, headaches and changes in vision“.

It has always been thought that once the baby is delivered, the condition of preeclampsia is resolved. Apparently not, according to this joint research by American and Danish researchers. The effects of preeclampsia may actually track through life and brings with it increased risk for future cardiovascular problems including hypertension, diabetes and blood clots. And the risks increase with every pregnancy.

According to lead author Dr. Michael J. Paidas, director of the Program for Thrombosis and Hemostasis in Women’s Health in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Science at Yale University:

The only reliable treatment for preeclampsia is delivery of the baby. But while delivery may ‘cure’ preeclampsia in the moment, these mothers are at high risk of chronic hypertension, type 2 diabetes mellitus and blood clots for the rest of their lives.

There is therefore a great need to prevent preeclampsia not only to prevent complications that threaten both mother and baby, but also to prevent long-term health problems.

According to MayoClinic, preeclampsia may be caused by the following:

  • Insufficient blood flow to the uterus
  • Damage to the blood vessels
  • A problem with the immune system
  • Poor diet

The risk factors for the condition are

  • First pregnancy
  • Preeclampsia in a previous pregnancy
  • Maternal age above 35
  • Pregnancy with multiples
  • Obesity
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Family of history preeclampsia
  • Underlying medical conditions before pregnancy such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or kidney disorder.

Aside from medical management, lifestyle changes can also help prevent or manage preeclampsia. Previous studies, for example, indicate that preeclampsia can be prevented by exercise and intake of dietary fiber.

Preventing preeclampsia

July 17, 2008 by  
Filed under HEART AND STROKE

You could be young, healthy, and fit with no history of hypertension. But suddenly, your blood pressure skyrockets to hypertensive levels. And the main reason is – pregnancy.

Preeclampsia, usually used synonymously with pregnancy-induced hypertension, occurs when the blood pressure of a pregnant woman increases dramatically within a short period of time usually during the second half of her pregnancy. This leads to hypertension, kidney damage, inflammation, preterm delivery and premature babies with low birth weights and presents a serious risk to the mother and to the baby. According to FamilyDoctor.org, preeclampsia commonly occurs:

  • in women having their first pregnancy
  • in women carrying multiples
  • in women with family history of preeclampsia
  • in pregnant teenagers and those above 40
  • in women with hypertension or kidney problems before they got pregnant

The real cause of preeclampsia hasn´t been identified. It affects about 2 to 8% of pregnancies, making it one of the leading causes of maternal and fetal complications and death worldwide.

In this post, I am reviewing two studies on the prevention and monitoring of preeclampsia.

Blood pressure monitoring

Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM) could help identify women with early-onset severe pre-eclampsia who are most likely to require early delivery.

according to South African researchers.

They found that by monitoring both diastolic blood pressure (DBP) and day-night blood pressure difference (DND) and combining the mean values, the onset of preeclampsia can be predicted.

The research

studied 44 women presenting with severe pre-eclampsia between 28 and 34 weeks’ gestation, who they managed expectantly for 8 days. They measured the women’s blood pressure every 30 minutes with an automated monitor for 24-hour periods on alternate days.”

The researcher observed that Caesarean sections are significantly lower among pregnant women with normal DND and mean DBP. These women also had, on the average, longer pregnanciey and less very premature babies. Only one delivered before 32 weeks’ gestation.

The authors conclude:

“The combination of mean [DBP and DND] may be a supplementary measurement of disease severity in early onset severe pre-eclampsia and seems to be of prognostic value”

Preeclampsia and exercise

This study involved 79 women who had a previous history of pre-eclampsia and had a sedentary lifestyle. The study compared two types of exercise regime: a 40-minute moderate‑intensity walk 5 times a week and a slow, non-aerobic stretching exercise program accompanying a 40-minute video 5 times a week.

The results of the study are as follows:

15% of women in the walking group developed preeclampsia. Only 5% of women in the stretching group developed the condition.

It seems that stretching had a more protective effect against pregnancy-induced hypertension than walking. The researchers believe that stretching may induce more production of transferrin, which is

a plasma protein that transports iron through the blood and protects against oxidative stress on the body, and that helps guard against preeclampsia.”

However, walking and other moderate forms of exercise are beneficial to the mother’s as well as the baby’s health in general, as posted before. At the same time, any form of exercise regime during pregnancy should only be performed after consultation with your doctor.

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.