Anaemia in pregnancy may signal heart disease, says study

New York: Gestational anaemia — lack of blood — may be a marker for cardiovascular disease (CVD) and stroke later, a study has found.

Simple blood tests during pregnancy may reveal cardiovascular disease and stroke, up to 25 years before the disease outbreak, said researchers from Soroka Medical Center and Ben Gurion University, in Israel.

In women with anaemia, CVD was 1.5 times higher than in women without anaemia. The rate of hospitalization for CVD was 4.35 per cent for women with gestational anaemia, compared to 3.7 per cent for the control group, the Xinhua reported.

The high risk of CVD was significant even after neutralising factors that might bias outcomes such as smoking, obesity, and hypertension disorders.

Among the diseases diagnosed in the pregnant patients are heart attacks, angina, heart failure, stroke, renal failure and hypertension with damage to internal organs.

The study reinforces the need for use of iron products, not necessarily for immediate results but also for long-term complications. The researchers also recommend women with a longer-term follow-up anaemia to prevent recurrence of heart and blood vessel diseases, researchers said.

For the study, the team followed about 30,000 women with anaemia who gave birth at Soroka hospital between 1988 and 2014. The control group was over 50,000 women who gave birth in those years and did not suffer from anaemia.

They also found that high renal function at the end of pregnancy indicated a 1.5-fold increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Among the blood tests found to be associated with a high risk of morbidity were creatinine and urea levels, a measure of kidney function, and potassium levels.