A study has found that a condition that threatens the lives of some pregnant women and the fetus may continue to put the mother at risk later in life.

Mayo Clinic researchers found that women with a history of pre-eclampsia are more likely to face atherosclerosis — hardening and narrowing of the arteries — decades after their pregnancies.

Pre-eclampsia, a condition in pregnant women commonly characterized by high blood pressure, affects between 2 and 7 percent of pregnancies.

“We’ve found that pre-eclampsia continues to follow mothers long after the birth of their child,” said Dr. Vesna Garovic of the Mayo Clinic Division of Nephrology and Hypertension. “The good news is that we can use these findings to apply earlier interventions for risk factors before cardiovascular disease presents.”

Mayo Clinic News Network