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What are the differences between pre-eclampsia and eclampsia?

pregnancy, measurement of the blood pressure , hands of the doctor with device

What is pre-eclampsia / eclampsia ?

The fetus is a partially foreign body to the woman’s organism, because genetic half of it came from the father. Usually a woman develops mechanisms that protect . In some cases, however, it can release substances in the bloodstream that cause vasoconstriction and increase blood pressure . This condition is called pre- eclampsia and causes, in addition to elevated blood pressure , increased albuminuria (presence of albumin in the urine ), persistent headache , edema , oliguria (decreased urine ),vertigo , tinnitus, fatigue , drowsiness and vomiting , among other symptoms . The eclampsia is even more serious complications of pregnancy, consisting of repeated seizures, followed by a comatose state. Generally, eclampsia occurs in the last trimester of pregnancy, but may appear before, during, or after delivery.

There is no linear evolution between the two diseases and, contrary to what was previously thought, eclampsia is not an evolution of pre-eclampsia . Most women with pre-eclampsia will not have eclampsia . The eclampsia is actually just a serious manifestation of pre-eclampsia .

What are the causes of pre-eclampsia / eclampsia ?

The causes of pre-eclampsia / eclampsia are still not well understood , but it is known that the placenta has great influence on the production of the condition. One of the theories says that pre-eclampsia / eclampsia occurs because of an imperfect vascularization of the placenta, which causes ischemia . The suffering placenta produces substances that, when they fall into the maternal blood circulation , cause blood pressure to become uncontrollable and damage to the kidneys .

Some factors favor the onset of pre-eclampsia / eclampsia . Are they:

  • Age over 35 to 40 years.
  • Family history for the condition.
  • Very long time interval between pregnancies.
  • First pregnancy.
  • To be Afrodescendant.
  • Have diabetes mellitus , high blood pressure ( high blood pressure), kidney disease , lupus , obesity .
  • Gestation of more than one fetus at the same time.
  • Pregnancy in adolescence.

What are the signs and symptoms of pre-eclampsia / eclampsia ?

The pre-eclampsia may be asymptomatic, but when there are symptoms , the main ones are:

  • Swelling .
  • Rapid weight gain due to accumulation of fluids (about 1kg per week).
  • Hypertension .
  • Proteinuria (presence of proteins in the urine ).

In more serious cases may occur pain head , stomach pains, tachycardia , presence of blood in urine and visual changes.

In eclampsia itself may occur, due to the considerable increase in blood pressure , bleeding brain, pain head , convulsions and coma .

How does the doctor diagnose preeclampsia / eclampsia ?

The diagnosis of pre-eclampsia / eclampsia is made through a detailed clinical history and is based on elevated blood pressure levels and laboratory tests of the patient. In addition, in eclampsia , the symptoms characteristic of the condition occur . Very often this diagnosis is made during prenatal care. That’s one more reason to make such follow-up so important.

How does the doctor treat pre-eclampsia / eclampsia ?

Treatment should begin with regular prenatal monitoring. Patients diagnosed with pre-eclampsia should be submitted to rest, blood pressure control and a diet with little or no salt. In the most severe cases, hospitalization and administration of antihypertensive and anticonvulsant medications may be advised.

The eclampsia itself always require hospitalization, medications and anticonvulsants venous antihypertensive and usually interruption of pregnancy .

How to prevent pre-eclampsia / eclampsia ?

One can try to prevent eclampsia by means of adequate prenatal care to recommend lots of water intake and withdrawal or drastic reduction of salt intake.

Special attention should be paid to risk groups.

In more severe cases, preventive measures can be adopted, such as cardiorespiratory support, use of anticonvulsants, antihypertensive treatments and anticipation of childbirth.

How do pre-eclampsias / eclampsias evolve?

A large number of pregnant women with eclampsia will present severe, life-threatening complications, so induction of labor is usually indicated. The termination of pregnancy is the only curative treatment. In women with gestation less than 32 weeks cesarean section may be indicated.

The disease regresses spontaneously with the removal of the placenta.

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