Preeclampsia is a pregnancy complication affecting 10% of women. It is marked by high blood pressure and proteinuria (protein in the urine). Symptoms usually emerge in the 20th week of pregnancy, and include: headaches, hand and foot swelling (edema), excessive weight gain and, in extreme cases, blindness.
Preeclampsia must be timely diagnosed, because if left undiagnosed it can develop into eclampsia. Eclampsia can cause seizures, brain damage and death (for mother and child). Worldwide, preeclampsia is responsible for 500,000 infant deaths and 76,000 maternal deaths every year.
According to a recent study conducted by scientists at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development of the National Institute of Health, there may be a connection between maternal plasma concentrations and the risk for developing preeclampsia. The relationship between maternal plasma and preeclampsia should lead to a decrease in medical malpractice due to the late diagnosis of preeclampsia, as doctors will be able to screen for a patient's predisposition to develop the dangerous condition.