Preeclampsia (PE) is a pregnancy-specific syndrome and one of the leading causes of preterm birth, neonatal and maternal morbidity and mortality. This disease is characterized by new onset hypertension usually in the third trimester of pregnancy and is sometimes associated with proteinuria, although proteinuria is not a requirement for the diagnosis of PE. In developing countries, women have a higher risk of death due to PE than more affluent countries and one of the most frequent causes of death is high blood pressure and stroke. Although PE only affects approximately 2%–8% of pregnancies worldwide it is associated with severe complications such as eclampsia, hemorrhagic stroke, hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes and low platelets (HELLP syndrome), renal failure and pulmonary edema. Importantly, there is no “cure” for the disease except for early delivery of the baby and placenta, leaving PE a health care risk for babies born from PE moms. In addition, PE is linked to the development of cardiovascular disease and stroke in women after reproductive age, leaving PE a risk factor for long-term health in women. This review will highlight factors implicated in the pathophysiology of PE that may contribute to long-term effects in women with preeclamptic pregnancies.
- CD4 T helper cells
- Endothelial dysfunction