News on Wellness

Low-dose aspirin for preeclampsia prevention: New USPSTF guidelines

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Preeclampsia affects 3 to 5 percent of pregnant women and is a common cause of premature birth. It can cause kidney failure, swelling of hands and feet, seizures and death.Preeclampsia is linked to an increase in the amino acid homocysteine, which is strongly influenced by diet and genetic factors.
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Preeclampsia is marked by high blood pressure, swelling in the legs and other symptoms. The complication affects as many as 1 in 10 first pregnancies. If left untreated, preeclampsia can develop into eclampsia, a life-threatening condition in which a woman has convulsive seizures in late pregnancy or during the first week after delivery.

New guidelines released by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force now recommend that pregnant women at high risk for preeclampsia take a steady low dose of aspirin as a preventative measure starting after 12 weeks of pregnancy.

“Low-dose aspirin (range, 50 to 160 mg/day) reduced the risk for pre-eclampsia by 24 percent in clinical trials,” said a USPTF statement.

“Preeclampsia can cause serious health problems for both expectant mothers and their babies,” said Dr. Jessica Herzstein, in a statement from the task force. “The good news is that pregnant women who are at high risk for developing preeclampsia can take a low dosage of aspirin daily to help to prevent the condition. This can result in better health outcomes for both the mother and the baby.”

Daily low-dose aspirin “also reduced the risk for preterm birth by 14 percent” and cut the risk by 20 percent of a complication that makes delays babies’ growth, according to the USPSTF.

The report was prepared after reviewing 23 studies published between 1986 and 2014.

According to recent information from a recent edition of the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, nearly four percent of all pregnancies in the U.S. are affected by this condition.

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