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Eclampsia: Introduction

Eclampsia is a life-threatening condition in which a pregnant woman who does not have a history of epilepsy experiences seizures (convulsions). Eclampsia is a serious complication of preeclampsia. Preeclampsia is a disorder that can occur during pregnancy that is characterized by high blood pressure (hypertension), protein in the urine (proteinuria), and the retention of excessive fluid (edema). In some cases, the high blood pressure of preeclampsia can get so high that it reduces the amount of oxygen delivered to a woman' brain. This can result in the development of eclampsia and seizures in the mother that threaten the life of both the mother and the developing fetus.

Risk factors for eclampsia include be pregnant during the teen years, having a first pregnancy, being pregnant of the age of 35, being African-American, or have a multiple pregnancy, such as twins or triplets. Other risk factors include a history of diabetes, hypertension, or kidney disease.

The earliest symptoms of the potential development of eclampsia are the symptoms of preeclampsia. However, there are often no symptoms of early preeclampsia that are obvious to a pregnant woman. Symptoms of advanced preeclampsia include headaches, blurred vision, and bloating. The primary symptom of eclampsia is seizures. For more details on symptoms and complications, refer to symptoms of eclampsia.

Getting regular prenatal medical care is vital to diagnosing and treating preeclampsia before it can develop into eclampsia. Prenatal visits include checking a woman's blood pressure and testing the urine for the presence of protein. At prenatal visits, a woman is also weighed and the fetal heart rate is measured with a doppler, an amplified listening device.

Making an early diagnosis of preeclampsia also includes taking a medical and pregnancy history and continuing with regular physical and pelvic examinations throughout pregnancy. A variety of other tests are also performed during routine prenatal care to evaluate overall health of the mother and the fetus. Tests include ultrasound imaging of the fetus, uterus and amniotic fluid. Blood tests include a complete blood count (CBC), a chemistry panel, and blood glucose testing. An urinanalysis checks the urine for the presence of protein in the urine, which can help determine preeclampsia and an increased risk for developing eclampsia. Pregnant women are also assessed for unusual weight gain and bloating.

It is possible that a diagnosis of preeclampsia or eclampsia can be missed or delayed for a variety of reasons. For more information on misdiagnosis, refer to misdiagnosis of eclampsia.

Ideally eclampsia is prevented by diagnosing and treating preeclampsia early in pregnancy. Preeclampsia is treated with rest, limiting salt intake and medications for some women. Regular prenatal visits are crucial to monitoring the condition so that it can be treated more aggressively if it progresses. For advancing preeclampsia or if eclampsia develops, hospitalization is necessary to ensure the health of the mother and the baby. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of eclampsia. ...more »

Eclampsia: Any type of high blood pressure occuring during pregnancy is a type of "gestational hypertension". Preeclampsia is severe high blood pressure during pregnancy, and eclampsia is very severe pregnancy gestational hypertension leading to seizures. ...more »

Eclampsia: Symptoms

The primary symptoms of eclampsia is seizures (convulsions) in a pregnant woman who does not have a history of epilepsy. Other symptoms include muscle aches and pains, agitation, and loss of consciousness. Stroke, coma and death of the mother and fetus can also occur.

Before eclampsia develops, women generally have symptoms of advanced ...more symptoms »

Eclampsia: Treatments

Treatment of eclampsia begins with prevention. This includes seeking regular prenatal care, ideally before a pregnancy even begins, to monitor for risk factors and the development of preeclampsia, which can develop into eclampsia. Prenatal visits include assessing for unusual bloating and weight gain, checking blood pressure, and testing the urine for the presence of ...more treatments »

Eclampsia: Misdiagnosis

A diagnosis of preeclampsia, which leads to eclampsia, may be delayed or missed when a woman does not seek early and regular prenatal care because the woman is often unaware of early signs of preeclampsia, such as proteinuria and hypertension. In addition, when symptoms of preeclampsia do occur, they can be similar to symptoms of other conditions, such as ...more misdiagnosis »

Symptoms of Eclampsia

Treatments for Eclampsia

Home Diagnostic Testing

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Wrongly Diagnosed with Eclampsia?

Eclampsia: Related Patient Stories

Eclampsia: Deaths

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Diagnostic Tests for Eclampsia

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Eclampsia: Complications

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Causes of Eclampsia

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Disease Topics Related To Eclampsia

Research the causes of these diseases that are similar to, or related to, Eclampsia:

Less Common Symptoms of Eclampsia

Eclampsia: Undiagnosed Conditions

Commonly undiagnosed diseases in related medical categories:

Misdiagnosis and Eclampsia

Metabolic syndrome often undiagnosed: Metabolic syndrome, also known as Syndrome X, is an often overlooked medical condition that causes a more »

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Heart attacks can be overdiagnosed: Although many people die from heart attacks, there are also many cases where people fear that they have a heart attack, but actually more »

Unnecessary hysterectomies due to undiagnosed bleeding disorder in women: The bleeding disorder called Von Willebrand's disease is quite common in women, but often fails to be correctly diagnosed. Women with more »

Rare heart condition often undiagnosed: The rare heart condition called long QT syndrome can lead to episodes of palpitations and rapid heartbeat. In rare cases, this undiagnosed more »

Heart attack can be over-diagnosed: Although heart attack is often undiagnosed, leading to fatality, it can also be over-diagnosed. People become concerned that a more »

Rare type of breast cancer without a lump: There is a less common form of breast cancer called inflammatory breast cancer. Its symptoms can be more »

Blood pressure cuffs misdiagnose hypertension in children: One known misdiagnosis issue with hyperension, arises in relation to the simple equipment used to test blood pressure. The "cuff" around the arm to measure blood pressure more »

Over-diagnosis of pulmonary hypertension in obese patients: A diagnosis of pulmonary hypertension, particularly pulmonary arterial hypertension, is often a misdiagnosis in obese patients. Exertional dyspnea leads to a more »

Obesity-related conditions undiagnosed in children: A variety of conditions are associated with obesity (see obesity), but these tend to be undiagnosed more often in child patients than in adults. Some of the overlooked more »

Hypertension misdiagnosis common in children: Hypertension is often misdiagnosed in adults (see misdiagnosis of hypertension), but its misdiagnosis is even more likely in children. Some of the symptoms of hypertension that can more »

Undiagnosed celiac disease in pregnancy harms fetus: The failure to diagnose the common but less known digestive disease celiac disease (see symptoms of celiac disease) is linked to adverse fetal outcomes. See misdiagnosis more »

Misdiagnosed weight-related causes of infertility: A woman's weight status can affect her level of fertility. Although obesity or overweight can in themselves more »

Eclampsia: Research Doctors & Specialists

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Hospitals & Clinics: Eclampsia

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Choosing the Best Hospital: More general information, not necessarily in relation to Eclampsia, on hospital performance and surgical care quality:

Eclampsia: Rare Types

Rare types of diseases and disorders in related medical categories:

Latest Treatments for Eclampsia

Eclampsia: Animations

Prognosis for Eclampsia

Prognosis for Eclampsia: Careful monitoring and management of the condition can ensure a good prognosis.

Research about Eclampsia

Visit our research pages for current research about Eclampsia treatments.

Clinical Trials for Eclampsia

The US based website lists information on both federally and privately supported clinical trials using human volunteers.

Some of the clinical trials listed on for Eclampsia include:

Prevention of Eclampsia

Prevention information for Eclampsia has been compiled from various data sources and may be inaccurate or incomplete. None of these methods guarantee prevention of Eclampsia.

Statistics for Eclampsia

Eclampsia: Broader Related Topics

Eclampsia Message Boards

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User Interactive Forums

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Article Excerpts about Eclampsia

Eclampsia is the occurrence, in a woman with preeclampsia, of seizures that cannot be attributed to other causes. Convulsions usually occur after midpregnancy, and may occur postpartum. (Source: excerpt from REPORT of the WORKING GROUP on RESEARCH on HYPERTENSION DURING PREGNANCY: NHLBI)

Definitions of Eclampsia:

Convulsions and coma occurring in pregnant or puerperal women, associated with hypertension, edema, and proteinuria. - (Source - Diseases Database)

A toxic condition characterized by convulsions and possibly coma during or immediately after pregnancy - (Source - WordNet 2.1)


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