We all worry about breast cancer and ovarian cancer as women, but the number one killer for us in the US remains heart disease. Pregnancy affords us the opportunity to have frequent contact with healthcare providers and a unique circumstance for cardiovascular screening if at risk for heart disease, whether we are at high risk b/c of family history or other medical problems like obesity, high blood pressure, and/or diabetes. Your OB checks your blood pressure and urine protein at every visit to be sure you are now showing signs of preeclampsia (high blood pressure associated with pregnancy), but preeclampsia can also show up after you have the baby and can be complicated by peripartum cardiomyopathy (heart failure). In addition, like in this story with Isabel, you can have hidden coronary artery disease that only presents itself under the stresses that pregnancy puts on the body. Read the beautiful story of how Isabel’s baby saved her life and never hesitate to discuss concerns with your doctor at KWH!
-Theresa Patton, MD