Complications of pregnancy, especially Gestational diabetes and preeclampsia, are known to raise the risk of coronary artery disease, a condition to which Black women are particularly susceptible. Researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina in the United States, compared Black women with a history of either…
- Gestational diabetes (148 women),
- preeclampsia (137 participants), or
- premature delivery (154 women),
with 445 Black women who had a normal healthy pregnancy. Their results were reported on in July of 2019 in the journal Circulation and Cardiovascular Imaging.
In coronary artery disease, the arteries delivering fresh blood to the heart muscle become clogged with plaque, made up mostly of cholesterol. Women with any of the complications studied had higher rates of obstructed coronary arteries than those without such difficulties. Women with a history of Gestational diabetes had more than three times the risk of coronary artery disease as women without pregnancy complications. The other pregnancy complications were linked with a slightly elevated risk of coronary artery disease.
Preventing Gestational diabetes consists of…
- normalizing body weight before conception,
- eating a healthy diet with a lot of fruits and vegetables,
- gaining only the recommended amount of weight, and
- exercising regularly.
Coronary artery disease can exist without any signs or symptoms. Often the disease is found when the person is at an increased risk for the issue. Then they are examined with computed tomographic angiography, which is similar to an x-ray that takes images of the heart.
Signs and symptoms of the disease are…
- pain, often described as a sensation of heaviness or tightness in the chest, back, jaw, arms, shoulders, or upper abdomen,
- weakness or tiredness,
- nausea and vomiting,
- the perception of indigestion or heartburn,
- shortness of breath,
- sweating or anxiety, and
- a fast heartbeat, palpitations, and
- the heart skipping beats
When coronary artery disease is diagnosed, patients are advised…
- to normalize their weight if necessary,
- to eat a diet low in solid fats and high in fruits and vegetables,
- quit smoking,
- exercise as prescribed,
- lower the stress levels in their life, and to
- avoid drinking excess alcohol.
- cholesterol-lowering drugs to help keep arteries from developing more plaque,
- aspirin to prevent blood clots from forming in the arteries,
- beta-blockers to put less strain on the heart muscle,
- calcium channel blockers to relax blood vessel walls,
- Ranolazine an anti-anginal medication improves blood flow to the heart, and
- Nitroglycerin belongs to a class of drugs known as nitrates and is given to help open the coronary arteries and improve heart blood flow,
- Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) lower blood pressure.