More pregnant women in Arizona having pregnancy-related heart issues
PHOENIX — A growing number of pregnant women in Arizona are showing up with heart issues — and even having heart attacks — related to their pregnancy.
Dr. Smriti Rana, an obstetrician and gynecologist at Abrazo Arrowhead Hospital, said the number of women having pregnancy-related heart issues at her hospital has increased almost 10 percent in the last few years.
Rana said it is not clear what is driving this uptick in pregnancy-related heart issues.
“Pregnancy has a lot of hormonal, hemodynamic changes … where your body has got excessive fluid,” she said.
Rana said lifestyle also has much to do with pregnancy-related heart attacks.
“We see more elderly moms,” she said. “(In OB/Gyn), elderly is 35 and older.”
“Quite a few pregnant patients are struggling with obesity – obesity has taken over,” Rana added.
“The moms are hypertensive (have high blood pressure) to begin with; they have family histories of cardiac defects.”
The best way to protect oneself, Rana said, is to ensure one’s personal health before trying to conceive.
“Pre-conception counseling — look at the risk factors,” she said.
“‘I’m obese; maybe I need to work on my lifestyle and lose some weight prior to getting pregnant. Or, ‘My high blood pressure is out of control — that needs to be controlled first.'”
The trend in Arizona reflected one nationally: A July report from the New York University School of Medicine found that the risk of women having pregnancy-related heart attacks has gone up 25 percent.
Among the women who successfully delivered a child or children, 922 suffered a heart attack during pregnancy, 1,061 during labor and delivery;and 2,390 in the six months after they gave birth.
Researchers also noted almost 5 percent of the pregnant women who suffered heart attacks died.
The report was based on studies of 50 million medical records between 2002 and 2014.