Could this one little tablet stop the dangerous condition pre-eclampsia in pregnancy?
The disease, which can damage a woman’s organs through the release of toxins from her placenta, kills about 60,000 mothers worldwide each year.
A group of international researchers, including a team from Melbourne’s Mercy Hospital for Women, believe they may have found a cure, reports Herald Sun.
Dr Natalie Hannan said the astonishing discovery had the power to save thousands of lives.
“Currently there is no option for women,” she said.
“This is the first time we’ve even had the possibility of treatment on the radar and it’s as simple as a tablet.
“It would be a major step forward.”
Lab tests have shown that the drug, Nexium, used to treat reflux, blocks the production of the toxic proteins.
Those toxins damage blood vessels and attack major organs, including the liver, kidneys and brain, in women with pre-eclampsia.
“This means that women will be able to take this simple medication and make it to a later stage of pregnancy,” Dr Hannan said.
“The benefit for the baby is that they will be able to stay inside mum for longer if we can keep her healthy. As we all know, babies delivered early can have a really tough time so that is important.”
The group’s laboratory research will be published today in the international journal, Hypertension.
A clinic trial underway in South Africa, where there are high rates of pre-eclampsia.
Further tests are also planned in Australia later this year.
Pre-eclampsia via The Royal Women’s Hospital
Pre-eclampsia is one of the more common complications of pregnancy and can happen at any time during the second half of pregnancy or the ﬁrst few days after the birth.
The signs of pre-eclampsia are high blood pressure, protein in urine and sudden excessive swelling of the face, hands and feet. Sudden blurred vision is also a symptom. It is also possible to have pre-eclampsia without having any symptoms at all.
Pre-eclampsia can cause circulation problems, which can affect the blood supply to the placenta and limit the baby’s supply of nutrients and oxygen. This can reduce the baby’s ability to grow.
Pre-eclampsia affects one in ten pregnancies and for most women the illness remains mild. In some cases it can become serious and affect other parts of the body such as liver and blood clotting system (HELLP syndrome) and can also lead to convulsions (eclampsia).
Pre-eclampsia can get worse very quickly, which is dangerous for both mother and baby. Women with pre-eclampsia are closely monitored. In the case of severe pre-eclampsia, you will need to be monitored in hospital and may have to have your baby early.
Fingers crossed they are onto something life saving with this research.
Did you or someone you know suffer with pre-eclampsia?
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