Friday, February 10, 2012

More Pregnant Women Are Having Strokes!

It is unlikely that women would have stroke during pregnancy or shortly after giving birth. However, researchers from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia have spotted a big jump in such events over the past 12 years.

The findings, which were published on July 28, 2011 in ‘Stroke’ (Journal of the American Heart Association), showed that there was a total of 4,085 pregnancy related stroke hospitalizations in the United States during the period between 1994 and 1995, and that number rose 54 percent to 6,293 between 2006 and 2007. The data used in the study came from a large national database of 5 to 8 million discharges from 1,000 hospitals.

Some increase was expected, but the figures found in the findings indeed surprised the researchers. Overall incidence is still low as latest data indicated that just three-quarters of a percent of women in America had a stroke during pregnancy or within 3 months of giving birth.

One factor could be responsible for the rise is that more women are overweight when they become pregnant, which can raise the likelihood of complications from diabetes and high blood pressure. Nevertheless, it was wished that more research should be designed and carried out to find the cause of the rise.

Stroke risk is usually low for a relatively healthy person. As pregnancy by itself is a risk factor for stroke and more pregnant women already have some kind of risk factor for stroke like obesity, hypertension (high blood pressure), diabetes or congenital heart disease, the overall risk will simply be doubled.

It was also observed that doctors do not have enough guidance on the best medication for pregnant women, especially for those with an increased risk for stroke. This is because norms on clinical studies usually exclude pregnant women in clinical trials as most drugs pose a hazard to the unborn fetus.

The researchers suggested developing a comprehensive, multidisciplinary plan that would enable doctors and patients to follow guidelines that could accurately monitor and provide care before, after and during childbirth.

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