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Eclampsia is a sudden rise in blood pressure in pregnant women that can cause strokes and permanent kidney damage. Research shows that the most likely cause is a deficiency of essential fatty acids found in whole grains, beans, nuts and other seeds, but not in commercial flour (1).

Woman most likely to suffer eclampsia have or will develop later high blood pressure or diabetes, and very high blood levels of triglycerides, fatty acids (2) and insulin (3,7). Diabetics are highly susceptible to lack of the essential fatty acids because it causes high blood pressure, insulin and triglycerides and sticky platelets. Lack of essential fatty acids causes blood fat levels to rise very high, blocking uptake of oxygen into the walls of arteries, causing the muscles in arteries to contract, and constricting the blood vessels to raise blood pressure (1). A It also causes platelets in the blood stream to stick together and form clots. Women with eclampsia have low levels of the essential fatty acids, linoleic and alpha linolenic acid, in the placenta that carries blood to the baby (3). Treatment would be to give omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids - linoleic and alpha linolenic acid - or to eat large amounts of nuts, seeds, whole grains, leafy green vegetables and deep water fish.

1) FV Velzingaarts, FRM Vanderklis, FPL Vanderdijs, FAJ Muskiet. Umbilical vessels of preeclamptic women have low contents of both n-3 and n-6 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 69: 2(FEB 1999):293-298. Address FV Velzingaarts, Univ Groningen Hosp, Cent Lab Clin Chem, CMC-V, Y1-147, Hanzeplein 1, NL-9713 GZ Groningen, NETHERLANDS. elevated ratio of thromboxane A(2) to prostacyclin I-2.

2) B Lorentzen, T Henriksen. Plasma lipids and vascular dysfunction in preeclampsia. Seminars in Reproductive Endocrinology, 1998, Vol 16, Iss 1, pp 33-39.

3) R.Raja. Insulin resistance syndrome in preeclampsia. Seminars in Reproductive Endocrinology, 1998, Vol 16, Iss 1, pp 41-46.

4) CWG Redman, GP Sacks, IL Sargent. Preeclampsia: An excessive maternal inflammatory response to pregnancy. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. 180: 2 Part 1 (FEB 1999):499-506.

5) JJ Walker. Antioxidants and inflammatory cell response in preeclampsia. Seminars in Reproductive Endocrinology, 1998, Vol 16, Iss 1, pp 47-55.

6) ST Davidge. Oxidative stress and altered endothelial cell function in preeclampsia. 7)Seminars in Reproductive Endocrinology, 1998, Vol 16, Iss 1, pp 65-73. KE Innes, JH Wimsatt. Pregnancy-induced hypertension and insulin resistance: evidence for a connection. Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica, 1999, Vol 78, Iss 4, pp 263-284.

Checked 9/5/05

May 16th, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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