According to a new study, black women are more likely than white women to suffer preeclampsia, a severe form of high blood pressure during pregnancy. However, Asian and Pacific Islander women may be at a higher risk of having cardiovascular issues as a result of the illness.
Preeclampsia Complications Rise In Islander Women
The study, published Tuesday in the American Heart Association journal Hypertension, sought to uncover the causes of rising rates of pregnancy-related problems and fatalities in the United States, as well as disparities based on race and ethnicity.
According to Dr. Erin Michos, the study’s principal author, cardiovascular disease is the main cause of maternal death, and one of the major contributors is pregnancy-induced hypertension. She is the director of women’s cardiovascular health at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, as well as an associate professor of medicine.
Pregnancy fatalities are disproportionately high among Black women, with 41.7 fatalities per 100,000 live births compared to 13.4 for white women.
Researchers examined hospital data from more than 11.3 million births between 2016 and 2018. Preeclampsia occurred in around one out of every twenty cases.
Even after controlling for age, wealth, and pre-existing obesity, black women had a 45 percent greater risk of getting preeclampsia than white women. Native Americans had a 35% greater chance, whereas Hispanic women had a 9% greater chance. Asian and Pacific Islander women, on the other hand, had a 19% lower risk of preeclampsia than white women.
However, when researchers considered who was most impacted by cardiovascular problems such as heart failure, pulmonary edema, and renal failure, the data painted a different tale. When comparing women with preeclampsia to women of the same race or ethnicity who did not have preeclampsia, Asian and Pacific Islander women had the highest risk of complications.
According to the study’s lead author, Dr. Minhas, a cardiovascular disease fellow at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, while Black women are the most at risk of developing preeclampsia and have a higher proportion of complications overall, they are not necessarily the most at risk of developing cardiovascular complications.
They may even claim that Asian women are the most vulnerable. However, she stated that all women are at high risk of cardiovascular problems due to preeclampsia.
The Asian and Pacific Islander group in the dataset studied by the researchers is quite broad, comprising women from South Asia, East Asia, and other regions. As a result, any significant differences were missed in the findings.
Dr. Nisha Parikh, an associate professor of medicine in the cardiology division at the University of California San Francisco, believes that one of the study’s major merits is that they particularly looked for impact modification by race and employed a large, nationally representative dataset. She was not a participant in the research.
Everyone is aware that cardiovascular disease is the top cause of mortality among women in the United States. They also know that, rather than decreasing, maternal death rates in the United States have been increasing in recent years, according to Parikh, who recently spearheaded the preparation of an AHA scientific statement on pregnancy problems and cardiovascular risk. As a result, the type of data examined by these researchers is key.
According to Michos, the risk of cardiovascular problems might persist much beyond pregnancy. A 2020 research in Hypertension, for example, discovered that preeclampsia may increase a woman’s risks of developing heart failure later in life.
That’s why it’s so crucial to pay attention to the fourth trimester, as she explained, noting that following birth, attention tends to shift to the infant. However, the consequences of pregnancy and delivery might last for several weeks or months. Checking a new mom’s blood pressure during doctor visits following birth, according to Michos, might be beneficial.
Researchers are baffled as to why Asian and Pacific Islander women had a greater risk of preeclampsia complications.
However, Michos stated that the overall findings reinforce the necessity for rigorous measures to reduce health disparity.