BFM News! Pre-eclampsia Progress!

Our first Black Future Month post explains that some diseases/syndromes affect African Americans more frequently, andpregnancy.jpg sometimes more severely, too. In our on-going coverage of Black Future Month, we’re going to be hunting for health news on issues/diseases that disproportionately affect African Americans. We here at the Doc Gurley health farm were out at the break of dawn, harvesting articles, separating the verbal wheat from the (copious) chaff. We stumbled over (but, luckily, didn’t get a Doc Gurley foot caught in word harvester) this BBC article about new developments in the diagnosis of pre-eclampsia. Pre-eclampsia is a cluster of symptoms that occur during pregnancy–including high blood pressure, and vascular changes. Several good studies have shown a higher rate of pre-eclampsia for African American women, more commonly with first pregnancies. The treatment for pre-eclampsia, especially when it progresses to full-blown eclampsia, is to deliver the baby early. If left untreated, it can lead to “convulsions, kidney failure and serious liver problems,” and the mother can die. Unfortunately, the treatment of early delivery can result in pre-term babies, who suffer their own risks. Want to read more about pre-ecalmpsia? You can get a free sample chapter on pre-eclampsia here in a textbook of Maternal-Fetal Medicine (warning: proceed at your own risk–we here at Doc Gurley found reading this chapter to be dense and stodgy enough to clog the verbal hay-baler). If new blood tests are found–which can improve doctors’ predictions of who’s at risk for pre-eclampsia, thereby leading to better monitoring and better outcomes, that would be good news indeed.

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