Objective: The objective of the present study was to evaluate the cardiovascular risk profile and the prevalence of metabolic syndrome among women with a history of pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH).
Methods: From a cohort of 3,799 nulliparous women prospectively recruited between 1989 and 1997, we performed an observational study on 168 case-control pairs 7.8 years after delivery. Participants were scheduled for a visit with a research nurse to evaluate their cardiovascular risk profile using a questionnaire, anthropometric measurements and blood specimen analysis.
Results: One hundred sixty-eight women with prior PIH (105 with gestational hypertension and 63 with preeclampsia) and 168 controls matched for age and year of index delivery were evaluated. The women with PIH (34.6 +/- 4.4 years) were more obese and had higher systolic (115 mm Hg versus 108 mm Hg) and diastolic (75 mm Hg versus 70 mm Hg) blood pressures (P < .001) than the 168 controls (35.1 +/- 4.5 years). They had lower high-density lipoprotein cholesterol level (1.30 mmol/L versus 1.42 mmol/L; P < .001), increased fasting blood glucose concentration (5.2 mmol/L versus 5.0 mmol/L; P = .002), and higher insulin levels (119 versus 91 pmol/L; P < .001). The prevalence of the metabolic syndrome was higher in the PIH group (unadjusted odds ratio = 4.9; 95% confidence interval 2.1-10.9) compared with controls, even after adjustment for confounders (adjusted odds ratio = 3.6; 95% confidence interval 1.4 -9.0).
Conclusion: In white women in their mid-30s, the prevalence of the metabolic syndrome is 3- to 5-fold increased in those with a history of PIH in their first pregnancy. This emphasizes the importance of long-term follow-up assessment for cardiovascular risk factors in these women.