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The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development claims that the measurement of a compound in the urine of pregnant women can help determine the risk of eventually developing preeclampsia. They researchers found that low levels of placental growth factor (PIGF) increased the risk of preeclampsia symptoms such as high blood pressure. PIGF works with vascular endothelial growth factor to promote the growth of new blood vessels and maintains cell health inside blood vessels such as those in the placenta. The researchers now aim to use this knowledge to develop a screening test to determine which women are at high risk of preeclampsia. These women can then be treated or monitored accordingly. At risk women could be given additional PIDF and VEGF. Preeclampsia usually starts with very high blood pressure and excretion of protein in the urine. This can progress to seizures. High blood pressure and seizures are treatable but once preeclampsia occurs, the baby needs to be delivered. Preeclampsia and other hypertensive disorders occur in 5.9-8% of all US pregnancies. Hypertension that doesn't result in preeclampsia can result in small birth size or premature birth which places the baby at risk of birth complications such as blindness, cerebral palsy or mental retardation. A separate study found that calcium supplements didn't lower the risk of developing preeclampsia in pregnant women. Other studies have found that aspirin, magnesium and fish oil do not have a protective effect against preeclampsia.
Source: summary of medical news story as reported by NIH News
About: Researchers find that urine protein measurement can determine preeclampsia risk
Date: 4 January 2005
Source: NIH News
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