Hypertensive Disorders of Pregnancy Have Lasting Cognitive Impact

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Women with gestational hypertension perform significantly worse on 15-word learning test than those with normotensive pregnancy

MONDAY, Jan. 4, 2021 (HealthDay News) — A history of hypertensive disorders of pregnancy (HDP) is associated with cognitive impairment 15 years after pregnancy, according to a study published online Dec. 30 in Neurology.

Maria C. Adank, M.D., from the University Medical Center Rotterdam in the Netherlands, and colleagues examined the correlation between HDP and cognitive impairment 15 years after pregnancy in a nested cohort study. Cognitive function was assessed 15 years after index pregnancy in 115 women with a history of HDP (80 and 35 with gestational hypertension [GH] and preeclampsia, respectively) and 481 women with a previous normotensive pregnancy. Cognitive performance was measured in different cognitive domains, and a global cognition factor (g-factor) was derived.

The researchers found that compared with women with a previous normotensive pregnancy, women with HDP had a lower g-factor (mean difference, −0.22). There was a negative association for HDP with the 15-word learning test: immediate recall (−0.25) and delayed recall (−0.30). Compared with women with a previous normotensive pregnancy, those with GH performed significantly worse on their 15-word learning test.

“It’s important to consider gestational hypertension and preeclampsia as risk factors for cognitive impairment that are specific to women,” Adank said in a statement. “Many women may think of this as a temporary issue during pregnancy and not realize that it could potentially have long-lasting effects.”

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