50 percent of mortality in pregnant women caused by Hypertension
Dr Derrick Darko, Medical Officer at the International Maritime Hospital (IMaH), says hypertension accounts for about 50 per cent of maternal deaths that occurred during delivery.
He explained that there are four categories of hypertensive disorders of pregnancy – chronic hypertension, gestational hypertension, preeclampsia-eclampsia, and chronic hypertension with superimposed preeclampsia.
Dr. Darko said this at the third “Your Health! Our Concern! a Ghana News Agency initiative that seeks to set the medium for the propagation of health information to influence personal health choices by improving health literacy.
Dr. Darko encouraged expectant mothers to visit health facilities and seek education on issues.
He said hypertension in pregnancy, if not managed, could lead to pregnancy complications, including seizures, coma, premature delivery, increase chance of intrauterine growth restriction in the baby, detachment of the placenta, bleeding in pregnancy, and a higher probability of remaining hypertensive after delivery.
Dr. Darko added that apart from recording high blood pressure readings, other signs to look out for were protein in the urine, which could be picked up through the various tests done during pregnancy.
Others include severe frontal headaches which could not be reduced with the intake of painkillers, visual blurriness, flashes of light on the face, continuous nausea, vomiting, experiencing pain just beneath the breast or right side of the abdomen, and a sharp increase in weight with swellings of the hands, and feet.
He explained that hypertension in pregnancy could be categorized in two ways, one having to do with those already diagnosed as hypertensive before getting pregnant, and those who developed it during pregnancy.
He said those already diagnosed must seek pre-pregnancy counselling from their doctors before getting pregnant, adding that with that their medications and dietary needs could be checked to avoid complications.
He urged women to immediately, after they recognized that they were pregnant, start antenatal to enable their blood pressure to be taken, recorded, and monitored to help early detection of any symptoms of hypertension and its related complications to help save the lives of both mother and baby.
Dr. Darko said even though the causes of hypertension were yet to be established, some contributory factors included a high intake of salt, fatty foods, a hereditary, and a sedentary lifestyle.
Mr. Francis Ameyibor, Tema Regional Manager, Ghana News Agency, said information on the health status of citizens was key, saying the “Your Health! Our Concern” platform would seek to propagate health information to influence personal health choices by improving health literacy.
“We must all be concerned about the health of some other person in order to develop a healthy society,” he said.
Mr. Ameyibor said the “Your Health! Our Concern,” a weekly health dialogue platform, would serve as an effective communication channel for health professionals to educate the public on healthy practices and other general health challenges.
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