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Life With Preeclampsia Essay

1274 words - 6 pages

Preeclampsia continues to take the lives of 10,500 infants each year (Preeclampsia Foundation, 2014). This disease, also known as Toxemia, only occurs in pregnant women. It takes place when there is a sharp rise in the mother’s blood pressure (also known as hypertension). Preeclampsia is also the most common complication that can occur during pregnancy (Preeclampsia Foundation, 2014).
Typically, there are no real “signs” of preeclampsia. In fact, symptoms can resemble those that occur in a healthy, regular pregnancy. Symptoms may include edema (caused by the accumulation of excess fluid), severe or dull headaches, back and shoulder pain, or the most well known symptom, hypertension. There ...view middle of the document...

Another symptom may include hyperreflexia, this takes place when the reflexes are overly sensitive when coming into contact with reflex points of the body. The following symptoms can be indications of hypertension or pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs); anxiety, a racing pulse, mental confusion, and a “sense of impending doom” (Preeclampsia Foundation, 2014). That is why it is very important for the mother to follow up on her scheduled appointments and ask her health care provider any questions that may be of concern. It is difficult to know when preeclampsia is taking place until labor because there is no known cause as of today. It is crucial that loved one’s learn what the possible signs and symptoms are to strictly be cautious throughout the pregnancy.
Preeclampsia was first discovered by Hippocrates around 400 B.C. and at this time was not considered a disorder. Hippocrates believed that the only cure for preeclampsia was bloodletting and purging so the bodily fluids would be brought back “into balance.” During the year 1739, Francois Boissier de Sauvages, a French physician, differentiated seizures of preeclampsia from epilepsy. In 1797, Demanet recognized the extreme edema in mother’s during preeclampsia. By 1840, Pierre Rayer, a french physician, discovered the presence of protein in the urine, known as proteinuria today. Three years later in 1843, John Lever linked the proteinuria to the disorder. Dr. William Tyler Smith (1849) believed that preservation of health during pregnancy depended on the exponential increase in the elimination of wastes from maternal and fetal systems--failure to do so consequently diagnosed the mother with preeclampsia. By the year 1896, Scipione Riva-Rocci’s mercury meter led to the recognition that preeclampsia was indeed a hypertensive disorder (Preeclampsia Foundation, 2014).
“Preeclampsia is the result of a placenta that does not function properly” (WebMD, 2014). Other causes can include; poor nutrition, being overweight, having insufficient blood flow to the uterus, and genetics because they may cause a higher probability of developing preeclampsia.
Preeclampsia does not only affect the mother, but her baby as well. The baby may develop Acidosis, a condition where there is an excessive amount of acid through bodily tissues. In an infant diagnosed with this condition may experience an excessive gain of lactic acid. This increases the chances of the baby going unconscious, becoming paralyzed, or even passing away. From surviving preeclampsia, the baby can remain at risk for developing ongoing life changes. This may include learning disorders, epilepsy, blindness, and even becoming deaf (Preeclampsia: Health Information, 2014). The infant is also at a higher risk of being born prematurely. “Worldwide, preeclampsia is responsible for up to twenty percent of the thirteen million preterm births each year” (Preeclampsia: Health Information, 2014). Another disorder that may develop is called...

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