Preeclampsia and the future risk of hypertension: the pregnant evidence

Curr Hypertens Rep. 2013 Apr;15(2):114-21. doi: 10.1007/s11906-013-0329-4.


Cardiovascular death rates continue to rise for women under age 55, underlying the importance of focusing on female-specific conditions that may increase cardiovascular risk, including pregnancy-related disorders. Hypertension complicates about 5-10 % of pregnancies. Preeclampsia, a pregnancy-specific condition, is characterized by hypertension and proteinuria after 20 weeks of gestation and remains one of the major causes of maternal deaths in the United States. In addition, preeclampsia may have an impact on women's health beyond their pregnancies, and has been associated with increased risks for future hypertension and cardiovascular disease, such as coronary heart disease and stroke. In this review, we discuss the evidence supporting the association between preeclampsia and future hypertension; possible mechanisms that underlie this association; current approach to women with a history of preeclampsia; and future research that is needed in this field in order to deliver optimal and timely medical care to the affected women.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Forecasting
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / etiology
  • Hypertension / physiopathology*
  • Pre-Eclampsia / physiopathology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Risk Factors