Pregnancy-Induced-Hypertension or PIH
What is Pregnancy-Induced-Hypertension or PIH?
Pregnancy-Induced-Hypertension (PIH) is high blood pressure that occurs in women during pregnancy. Also called gestational hypertension, PIH during pregnancy can lead to Preeclampsia – a dangerous condition when the mother’s kidney, liver, and brain are affected due to increased hypertension and protein in the urine.
PIH symptoms vary from individual to individual depending upon their health conditions, pregnancy, age, and other related factors. The symptoms also vary according to the pregnancy weeks. Some of the common symptoms across different stages and types of PIH has been listed for your understanding:
- High Blood Pressure
- Persistent Headache
- Blurred Vision
- Sudden Weight Gain
- Extreme swelling in the body
- Pain in the upper abdomen
Who is at Risk?
PIH risk factors differ from individual to individual as each pregnancy is different and depends a lot on the health condition of the mother. Certain red flags for when an individual might be at risk are:
- Being pregnant with multiple fetuses
- First-time pregnancy
- Pregnancy over the age of 35
- History of high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney disorder, etc
- Young pregnancy
- Stress, anxiety, depression, etc
PIH causes depend upon underlying health conditions, pregnancy, etc. Some of the possible causes of PIH are listed below:
- Genetic Factors: Women with a family history of PIH are likely to experience PIH themselves too.
- Blood Vessel Problems: High blood pressure can arise as a result of blood vessel problems or lifestyle-related diseases.
- Autoimmune disorders: Autoimmune disorders like Celiac, Type 1 diabetes, hypothyroidism, multiple sclerosis, etc can result in PIH.
- Pregnancy Age: Women below or above the healthy age of pregnancy can experience PIH
- Lifestyle diseases: Obesity, diabetes, stress, etc are related to PIH
How is PIH diagnosed?
For PIH diagnosis, the doctor will conduct a physical examination and conduct a series of tests to look out for certain things.
- Physical Examination – Checking the blood pressure, swelling in hands and feet, etc the doctor determines if the high blood pressure is consistent and the symptoms match with PIH or Preeclampsia. Blood Pressure is examined if it is 140/90 Hg or higher.
- Blood and Urine Tests – Blood and urine samples are collected to trace the presence of protein in the urine, low platelet levels, abnormal liver enzymes, etc.
- Non-stress test – A test is conducted to monitor the fetus’s heart rate and its changes as the fetus moves. This is conducted in a rested and comfortable environment.
- Ultrasound – Imaging test is done to check the fluid levels in the womb, and health of the fetus.
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How is PIH treated?
PIH treatment is done based on the causes and the severity of each case. Here are treatment methods that doctors may adopt.
- Delivery of the baby: First and foremost treatment of PIH is to get the delivery of the baby done. If the pregnancy is over 37 weeks or more, the doctor may induce labor to conduct the delivery. Usually, the delivery of the baby and placenta resolves the condition.
- Medicines – If the pregnancy is below 37 weeks, doctors advise medicinal treatment. Here over the counter medications are prescribed to keep PIH under control and save the situation from turning fetal.
- Follow-up treatment – Once the baby is delivered, PIH resolves. But in rare cases it arises again after a month or two, close monitoring is done to keep a check on blood pressure. Medicines or natural remedies are adhered to for keeping the blood pressure under the healthy range.
How can PIH be prevented?
Although PIH isn’t related much to lifestyle activities, the prevention of PIH can be done by inculcating a few simple things:
- Rest – Women with PIH should take enough bed rest and save from pressure on themselves
- Sleep Cycle – Maintaining a healthy sleep cycle is essential to manage stress, anxiety, and a spike in blood pressure
- Exercises – indulging into exercises for at least 30 minutes a day helps in reducing blood pressure and maintaining a healthy blood flow
- Reduce dietary salt – Reducing the intake of salt is one of the known ways of controlling hypertension.
- Garlic – Scientific studies have proved that including garlic in diet causes reductions in systolic and diastolic blood pressure