A recent study presented at the Canadian Stroke Congress has suggested that use of anti-hypertensive drugs during pregnancy could increase the lifetime risk of stroke among women.
According to Dr. Aravind Ganesh, a neurologist at University of Calgary, a positive correlation between maternal hypertension and higher risk of stroke was observed. The rate of stroke risk increase by 40% with incidence of pre-eclampsia, he added.
Dr. Aravind and his team have conducted a meta-analysis of nine clinical studies that focussed on the maternal use of anti-hypertensive drugs and the incidence of stroke.
The clinical studies have followed-up post-partum women for 1 to 32 after pregnancy. A consistent relationship between the incidence of later life stroke, and history of gestational hypertension was observed.
Gestational hypertension is a common complication and no recommendation for prevention or screening of stroke-related post-partum problems.
Pregnant women with diagnosed hypertension should be followed for the life time and recurrence of hypertension with complications including diabetes, cholesterol and stroke should be monitored, Dr. Aravind noted.
Hypertension is a prominent risk factor for stroke, said Dr. Michael Hill, Co-chair, Canadian Stroke Congress. Monitoring the blood pressure often could cut the stroke risk and useful among women with a history of pregnancy-associated hypertension.
Pregnant women should be aware of the risk and its potential complication. If pregnant women experience any symptoms such as vascular problems they should consult a doctor immediately. Women with history of gestational hypertension should be routinely monitored for the rest of the life to prevent complications, said Dr. Ian Joiner, Director of Stroke Institute, Heart and Stroke Foundation.