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Cardiovasc J Afr. 2011 Nov-Dec;22(6):330-4. doi: 10.5830/CVJA-2010-074.

Potentially increasing rates of hypertension in women of childbearing age and during pregnancy--be prepared!

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  • 1Women's Health and HIV Research Unit, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa.


The incidence of hypertension in young women is likely to increase in the near future because of the rising rates of the metabolic syndrome, obesity and dyslipidaemia worldwide. Consequently, more women will be on antihypertensive agents, which have the potential for teratogenicity. It is also likely that the increasing number of young women with essential hypertension who become pregnant will develop pregnancy-specific disorders such as pre-eclampsia. Health professionals should be aware of the effects of hypertension in women during the childbearing years, as well as the impact of pre-eclampsia on cardiovascular disease in later life. Pre-conception counselling skills, and knowledge on the use of antihypertensives and the changes that occur during pregnancy should be added to the clinical armamentarium of all health professionals.

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