Women who experienced high blood pressure during pregnancy had a higher risk of dying prematurely from heart disease, according to a new study led by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

The study, led by Jorge Chavarro, associate professor of nutrition and epidemiology, analyzed data on more than 88,000 women who participated in the long-term Nurses’ Health Study II. Of the participants, 14 percent had high blood pressure during pregnancy.

After 28 years of follow-up, the analysis found that 2,400 women died prematurely, 212 of whom had heart or blood vessel disease. The researchers determined that high blood pressure during pregnancy was associated with a 42 percent higher risk for early death, after accounting for numerous factors including diet and lifestyle.

“It is really important for clinicians who should be aware not only of the link between hypertension during pregnancy and long-term adverse health outcomes, but also that this may happen even in the absence of chronic hypertension,” Chavarro said in a March 10, 2021, Health Day article.

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