Diagnosed with Pre-eclampsia
And so it's been confirmed. I have pre-eclampsia. One of the 2 most fatal diseases any pregnant woman would fear to have.
This post is for my friends who do not understand what pre-eclampsia is about. I keep getting suggestions on how I can lower my cholesterol etc. People think I have this because of my lifestyle.
People like to call it the "Act of Divine/Nature/Random Fate/Unpredictable Genetics". And I can't resolve it by drinking pineapple juice. There is absolutely no known cure for this but to deliver the baby whether he is ready or not. This is not the same as chronic hypertension you see on your grandpa.
Pre-eclampsia means that the placenta is not planted strongly enough because my immune system is a little too "testy". It rejects the foreign protein that came from my husband which makes up the placenta and our baby.
So what does this really mean?
- This means that the blood circulation going to my baby may no longer be enough for his size. It was OK during the first few months but now that he's gaining a lot of weight and he's growing fast, he needs more blood.
- In order to do this, my body reacts by going on hyper drive. My blood pressure increases to make sure the baby gets more blood.
- And because of this, my kidney takes a toll. This is causing my kidneys not to filter all the protein and spill protein into my urine. This is the second symptom that made my doctor confirm I have the disease.
In an attempt to keep the organs from getting blasted by this pressure- the body then starts the vasospasm part- the blood vessels start shutting intermittently on their own-- which can cause a whole host of other problems, including further damage to the vessels and destruction of red blood cells and platelets.
Meanwhile, the vessels begin to show the strain by leaking from the pressure and vasospasm. The watery part of the blood seeps out of the veins and acumulates in the extremities, like hands and feet. The swelling can get extreme, and the extra fluid the body has to process further stresses the kidneys, that are already groaning under the increased blood pressure. If it gets extreme, the fluid doesn't get pushed out, the kidneys don't work as well, and the swelling becomes pathologic-- it can end up as pulmonary edema in the lungs, or around the heart, or the swelling can enter the cranium and compress the brain and cause strokes or hemmorages.
I am now very worried for myself and my baby. While I constantly think how to go about life and fulfill responsibilities, I am also thinking on how to ensure our safety.
It's really hard not to think about it given the possibility that I might lose my baby or my life because of this. For now, all I have to do is follow what my doctors say and keep praying that we get over this.
07/5/2012: I just realized that it is possible NOT to understand preeclampsia unless you get it. I still get tons of advice to drink pineapple juice or go on a diet. I don't find it amusing at all.