Preeclampsia is a disorder that occurs during pregnancy and the immediate postpartum period, and affects both the mother and the fetus. It is a rapidly progressive condition characterized by elevated blood pressure and protein in the urine; other symptoms may include swelling in the hands and face, headaches, and visual disturbances. Preeclampsia affects the mother's kidneys, liver and other vital organs and, if undetected or untreated, can lead to seizures (eclampsia), cerebral hemorrhage, failure in vital organs and death.
The cause of preeclampsia is still not fully understood, and the only cure for the condition begins with delivery. Approximately five to eight percent of pregnancies are affected by preeclampsia, which, in the United States, translates to approximately 300,000
pregnancies. It is a leading cause of preterm birth, and is responsible for approximately 76,000 maternal deaths and half a million infant deaths worldwide annually. There are several types of preeclampsia, including HELLP syndrome, a particularly dangerous variant.
9 months ago I fell victim to preeclampsia when I was pregnant with my son. During the last 6 weeks of my pregnancy my blood pressure began to sky rocket. It began with blurred vision and headaches. My blood pressure started increasing as time went on and 5 weeks before my son was due, I was hospitalized for observation after I felt like my head was going to explode. I was sent home on bed rest when my urine was found to be negative for protein and with rest, my pressure returned to normal. Two days later, I woke up swollen in the face and hands. My water broke that afternoon and my son was born a little over 4 weeks early.
Both my son and I were lucky. I recognized that I was in trouble and my OB/GYN did not take any chances with me from the very start of my symptoms. He immediately sent me to the hospital for observation the moment my pressure sky rocket. Some woman and babies are not so lucky.
The Preeclampsia Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to reducing maternal and infant illness and death due to preeclampsia, is proud to launch the fourth annual Chicago Promise Walk and 5K Run for Preeclampsia™ on Sunday, May 19, 2013 at the Busse Woods in Elk Grove Village/Schaumburg, Illinois. This annual event is part of a nationwide effort to support innovative research and raise public awareness about the warning signs of preeclampsia, a life-threatening disorder of pregnancy.
This year, up to one in 12 pregnant women in the United States will be diagnosed with preeclampsia. Worldwide, nearly 76,000 mothers and half a million babies die each year because of preeclampsia, and rates of preeclampsia, maternal deaths and prematurity are all rising. The Preeclampsia Foundation is committed to reducing maternal and infant illness and death due to preeclampsia and other hypertensive disorders of pregnancy by providing patient support and education, raising public awareness, catalyzing research and improving health care practices.