Preeclampsia: Study Highlights Need for More Effective Treatment, Prevention

Obstetrics Exam

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It’s well known that preeclampsia, a condition characterized by a progressive rise in a pregnant woman’s blood pressure and appearance of protein in the urine, can have negative, even life-threatening impacts on the health of both mother and baby. Now, NIH-funded researchers have documented that preeclampsia is also taking a very high toll on our nation’s economic well-being. In fact, their calculations show that, in 2012 alone, preeclampsia-related care cost the U.S. health care system more than $2 billion.

These findings are especially noteworthy because preeclampsia rates in the United States have been steadily rising over the past 30 years, fueled in part by increases in average maternal age and weight. This highlights the urgent need for more research to develop new and more effective strategies to protect the health of all mothers and their babies.

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Connecting the Dots: The State of U.S. Health, 1990-2010

Caption: Adapted from Figure 2, The state of US health, 1990-2010: burden of diseases, injuries, and risk factors. US Burden of Disease Collaborators. JAMA. 2013 Aug 14;310(6):591-608. Print version is available here

Kudos to the U.S. Burden of Disease Collaborators and their recent report on the state of U.S. health from 1990 to 2010. This team, supported by NIH and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, documented how the incidence of various diseases and injuries has changed over the past two decades in terms of toll they take on Americans’ health and well being. That toll is measured in something called disability-adjusted life years (DALYs), which amounts to the sum of years of life lost due to premature death and years lived with disability. Continue reading