High blood pressure during pregnancy and labor may seem like no big deal, but it is extremely dangerous. It is one of the leading killers of women in childbirth in developing countries. A new study in the EPMA Journal has found a low-cost method that predicts ecclampsia 80% of the time and could point to new treatment options. The Week has the story.
The study looked at 593 pregnant Ghanaian women using a survey called the Suboptimal Health Questionnaire. The survey is used to predict chronic disease. Those who scored high on the questionnaire had a 61% chance of developing preeclampsia compared to 17% of low-scorers.
Researchers looked at blood tests and compared them to the scores. They found that women with low calcium and magnesium levels had an 80% chance of developing preeclampsia. Testing for low calcium and magnesium is cheap, as is administering the survey.
The tricky part of preeclampsia is detecting it in time for treatment, but once found it’s easy to control. Using surveys and tests like these can tell doctors to be on the lookout. It may also lead to supplementation recommendations for pregnant women. Both minerals are essential for health.
Treating this disorder may reduce the maternal death rate in Ghana by as much as 18%.