Pregnancy: Preeclampsia and Eclampsia (cont.)
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.
In this Article
- Preeclampsia and eclampsia facts
- What are preeclampsia and eclampsia?
- What causes preeclampsia and eclampsia?
- Who is at risk for preeclampsia and eclampsia?
- What are the symptoms of preeclampsia and eclampsia?
- How are preeclampsia and eclampsia diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for preeclampsia and eclampsia?
- What are complications of preeclampsia and eclampsia?
- Can preeclampsia and eclampsia be prevented?
- What is the outlook (prognosis) for preeclampsia and eclampsia?
- Find a local Obstetrician-Gynecologist in your town
What causes preeclampsia and eclampsia?
The exact cause of preeclampsia and eclampsia is not fully understood, but it is believed to be a disorder of the lining of blood vessels. Abnormalities of the placenta have also been described. It likely arises due to a combination of factors, including both genetic and environmental influences. A number of genes have been studied as being potentially involved in preeclampsia, and there is an increased risk for women with affected family members. Nutritional factors, obesity, and the immune system may also play a role in its development although this is not yet fully understood. Some studies of the immune response in preeclampsia have shown problems in the way certain cells of the immune system interact with each other to regulate the immune response.
Who is at risk for preeclampsia and eclampsia?
Different factors can increase a woman's risk for developing preeclampsia and eclampsia. These include:
- Age: Teens or women over 40 are at greatest risk
- History of preeclampsia/eclampsia in a previous pregnancy
- Having had high blood pressure prior to pregnancy
- Pregnancy achieved through egg donation or donor insemination
- Having a mother or sister who had preeclampsia
- Having certain diseases, like diabetes, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, or some kidney diseases
- Multiple gestation
- Sickle cell disease
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