Health Questions and Answers

Question: Do we know what causes preeclampsia?

Answer:

No. Preeclampsia has been described since the time of the ancient Greeks. However, the cause remains unknown. We know that hypertension, proteinuria, and the other signs and symptoms of the illness are merely the outward manifestations of a systemic illness characterized by vasoconstriction and hypovolemia. All organs, including the fetoplacental unit, show evidence of poor perfusion.

Reference: American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists: Diagnosis and Management of Preeclampsia and Eclampsia. ACOG Practice Bulletin No. 33. Obstet Gynecol 99:159-167, 2002.

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