World Preeclampsia Day

Overview

Preeclampsia, also known as “toxaemia of pregnancy”, is a serious blood pressure disorder that can occur during pregnancy or shortly after childbirth. It is a leading cause of death worldwide for women, fetuses and newborns, as it is responsible for over 70 OOO maternal deaths and 500 000 fetal deaths every year and affects approximately 5% to 7% of all pregnancies1. Preeclampsia is characterized by elevated blood pressure and high protein levels in the urine. The condition may be associated with severe short and long-term effects for both mother and baby2.

Diagnosis and Symptoms

The first symptoms of preeclampsia usually become apparent mid-pregnancy, after the 24th week of pregnancy, and rarely before the 20th week. Although less common, the mother may develop preeclampsia for the first time in the weeks immediately after birth. Most pregnant women with the condition only experience mild symptoms and feel no discomfort at the beginning, but severe complications may develop without early diagnosis and clinical management. During the first trimester prenatal appointments, a healthcare professional checks the mother for high blood pressure1and protein in the urine2, which are some of the early signs of preeclampsia. These clinical findings in combination with some risk factors, like having an existing medical problem or family history of the condition, help the healthcare professional identify whether the expecting mother has an increased risk developing preeclampsia. The main sign of preeclampsia in the fetus is slow growth, as the condition prevents the fetus from being adequately nourished and supplied with oxygen due to the poor blood supply through the placenta to the baby2. If the condition is not identified from an early stage and progresses, the expecting mother may develop severe headaches or vision problems like sensations of flashing lights, light sensitivity, or blurry vision or spots. Additional symptoms include severe heartburn, nausea or vomiting, rapid and excessive weight gain, pain just below the ribs, sudden or severe swelling of the feet, ankles, face and hands (edema). It is crucial for every pregnant woman to be informed about these symptoms and get medical advice immediately if they notice any of them. Without prompt treatment, preeclampsia may lead to rare, yet life-threatening complications for the mother, including organ damage and death. Preeclampsia is also associated with high risk of the baby being born too small and with a low birth weight.

Causes and Risk Factors

Despite intensive research over the last decades, the exact cause of preeclampsia isn't fully understood; however, it is thought to be caused by the placenta not developing properly2. Many factors can increase the risk of developing preeclampsia, including having a pre-existing medical problem such as diabetes, kidney disease, high blood pressure or autoimmune conditions like lupus or antiphospholipid syndrome. Also, if a woman had preeclampsia in a previous pregnancy, there is approximately a 16% chance of developing the condition again in later pregnancies. Some factors cumulatively increase a woman’s chances of developing preeclampsia. These include being pregnant for the first time, if it has been at least 10 years since last pregnancy, family history of the condition (mother or sister), whether a woman is over 40, if a woman was obese at the start of her pregnancy with body mass index (BMI) of 35 or more, or if having a multiple pregnancy.

Newest studies for Diagnosis

Apart from the first trimester routine checks which are performed between the 11th and 14th week of pregnancy to estimate the risk for preeclampsia, newer studies show that determining the ratio of two placental proteins (sFlt-1/PlGF) with a blood test between the 20th and 34th week can predict the onset of preeclampsia about four weeks in advance4,5. Based on this information, if preeclampsia is suspected, the healthcare professional can schedule the frequency of prenatal appointments accordingly, for more careful monitoring and early diagnosis. Monitoring may include keeping track of the fetus’s movements by doing a daily kick count, measuring the blood pressure at home and scheduling weekly prenatal check visits to check the fetus growth.

Treatment

If preeclampsia is confirmed, frequent monitoring by a healthcare professional is essential. Preeclampsia can only be cured by delivering the baby and the placenta2. The aim of treatment is to prolong pregnancy and avoid a premature birth, as long as it is safe for both the mother and the baby. If needed, staying in the hospital until the baby can be delivered will be recommended for careful monitoring and early action. Although preeclampsia usually improves soon after the baby is born, complications can sometimes develop a few days later. If preeclampsia is severe, it may cause long-term health consequences for the mother and her baby. On average, 1 in 3 women with severe preeclampsiadevelops chronic high blood pressure years after their pregnancy, and frequently suffers from cardiovascular diseases (CVD) and blood clotting disorders1, 2. As babies may be born prematurely, they may experience breathing difficulties caused by undeveloped lungs2. To prevent this from happening, healthcare professionals may give injections of a corticosteroid medicine to the pregnant women to speed up the development of the fetus’ lungs, brain, and kidneys and surfactant production. In newborns with underdeveloped lungs and breathing difficulties, treatment ­­― surfactant replacement therapy, breathing support from a ventilator or other supportive cures ― should begin immediately. Most babies who show signs of a breathing disorder are quickly moved to a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) to receive constant treatment.

Prevention

Presently, there is no single diagnostic test that can accurately predict if a woman will develop preeclampsia during pregnancy or right after childbirth. For this reason, raising awareness to prevent preeclampsia is the most powerful tool for the successful, early recognition and clinical management of the condition3. This involves identifying risk factors for preeclampsia, informing women of the signs and symptoms, and stressing the importance of contacting a healthcare professional as soon as possible. It is crucial for pregnant women to attend all their prenatal appointments, to monitor their blood pressure at every prenatal check or at home, and to be aware of specific warning signals such as headaches, impaired vision or rapid weight gain, fluid retention or restlessness. Maintaining a healthy eating lifestyle, staying physically active and avoiding stress are vitally important for the prevention and good management of preeclampsia.

NIPD Genetics clinical laboratories, which are part of GESY, offer several routine checks which may be performed before or during the pregnancy. NIPD Genetics clinical laboratories enable easy access, and the experienced personnel is trained to respond to every need. To learn more please visit www.nipdlabs.com.cy

The content is intended only for educational purposes and should not be perceived as medical advice.

Compiled using information from:

-European Foundation for the Care of Newborn Infants (EFCNI). [https://www.efcni.org/activities/campaigns/world-preeclampsia-day/]

-NHS, Pre-eclampsia. [https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pre-eclampsia/]

-ACOG, Preeclampsia and Pregnancy. [https://www.acog.org/womens-health/infographics/preeclampsia-and-pregnancy]

-ACOG, Preeclampsia and High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy. [https://www.acog.org/womens-health/faqs/preeclampsia-and-high-blood-pressure-during-pregnancy]

-NHLBI, Respiratory Distress Syndrome. [https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/respiratory-distress-syndrome]

-NIHR, Placental growth factor testing can speed up diagnosis of pre-eclampsia. [https://evidence.nihr.ac.uk/alert/placental-growth-factor-testing-can-speed-up-diagnosis-of-pre-eclampsia/]

References:

  1. Rana S, Lemoine E, Granger JP, Karumanchi SA. Preeclampsia: Pathophysiology, Challenges, and Perspectives. Circ Res. 2019 Mar 29;124(7):1094-1112. doi: 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.118.313276. Erratum in: Circ Res. 2020 Jan 3;126(1):e8. PMID: 30920918.
  2. Bokslag A, van Weissenbruch M, Mol BW, de Groot CJ. Preeclampsia; short and long-term consequences for mother and neonate. Early Hum Dev. 2016 Nov;102:47-50. doi: 10.1016/j.earlhumdev.2016.09.007. Epub 2016 Sep 20. PMID: 27659865.
  3. Hypertension in pregnancy. Report of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ Task Force on Hypertension in Pregnancy. Obstet Gynecol. 2013 Nov;122(5):1122-1131. doi: 10.1097/01.AOG.0000437382.03963.88. PMID: 24150027.
  4. European Foundation for the Care of Newborn Infants (EFCNI). [https://www.efcni.org/activities/campaigns/world-preeclampsia-day/]
  5. Chau, K., Hennessy, A. & Makris, A. Placental growth factor and pre-eclampsia. J Hum Hypertens 31, 782–786 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1038/jhh.2017.61


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NIPD Genetics - Privacy Policy

General Statement

NIPD Genetics is a leading, innovative biotechnology company that designs, develops, and provides a broad spectrum of healthcare services to its customers through its expansive portfolio of molecular and clinical laboratory tests in all disciplines.

At NIPD Genetics we are committed to protecting and respecting our customer’s privacy and personal information. Personal information or personal data means any information that identifies, relates to, describes, is capable of being associated with, or could be reasonably linked, directly or indirectly, with a particular individual, such as name, identification number, location data, an online identifier or to one or more factors specific to the physical, physiological, genetic, mental, economic, cultural or social identity of that individual.

NIPD Genetics collects and processes your personal information according to the General Data Protection Regulation (EU) 2016/679 and the Cypriot law providing for the protection of natural persons with regards to the processing of personal data and for the free movement of such data (L. 125(I)/2018). The following principles lie at the heart of our approach to handling personal data:

NIPD Genetics has appointed a Data Protection Officer (DPO) who is responsible for overseeing and ensuring that personal information is collected and processed in line with these principles. The contact details of the Data Protection Officer (DPO) can be found below:

Email address: dpo@nipd.com

Postal address: 31 Neas Engomis street, 2409 Engomi, Nicosia, Cyprus

Telephone number: + 357 22266888

By accessing or using our products or services, or by transmitting information to us by email or other electronic means, you accept our policies, procedures and practices described in this Privacy Policy. If you do not agree with our policies, procedures and practices as described, you can choose not to access or use our products or services or not to transmit personal information to us.

This Privacy Policy applies to NIPD Genetics facilities, its websites www.nipd.com, www.nipdlabs.com, www.nipdlabs.com.cy and their subdomains, that link to this privacy pol icy.

PERSONAL INFORMATION COLLECTION AND PROCESSING

We collect and process several types of personal information from and about users of our websites and of our products and services, including:

Information about children

If you are under 18 years of age, do not register on our website or provide any information about yourself to us. We do not provide our products or services directly to children or proactively collect their personal information. Despite this prohibition, it is possible that we may sometimes be given information about children while handling samples from our customers in our clinical labs, or through use of our products and services by our customers and partners. If we become aware that we have inadvertently collected personal information from children under the age of 18, without parental consent, we will take the necessary steps to delete it as soon as possible in compliance with applicable laws.

LEGAL BASIS FOR PROCESSING OF YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION

Your personal information is collected by NIPD Genetics for the following purposes:

  1. To provide you with our products and services, respond to your inquiries or fulfill your requests and otherwise manage your relationship with us. The legal basis for processing is to meet the requirements of a contract, to comply with our legal obligations and/or because we have a legitimate interest in responding to requests for information about our products and services.
  2. To communicate with you about content and product offerings, newsletters and event invitations which are relevant to your interests and in line with your preferences. The legal basis for processing is the individual’s explicit consent prior to sending the information and managing individuals preferences.
  3. To process and respond to complaints. The legal basis for processing is to meet a legal obligation.
  4. To monitor and record information relating to the use of our products and services, including our website. The legal basis for processing is our legitimate interest in order to improve our products and services and our website for individuals.

To provide our products and services, NIPD Genetics may collect, receive and process biological samples to isolate and sequence DNA. NIPD Genetics may then store resulting genetic information and use genetic information to provide our products and services. In some cases, NIPD Genetics may provide interpretations of genetic information on behalf of its customers, including healthcare providers. This is only done pursuant to a written contract or a Sample Information Form with a patient’s informed consent and is subject to applicable legal and ethical safeguards.

This sensitive information described above is collected by NIPD Genetics for the following purposes:

  1. To provide support and maintenance services to customers who use our products and services – The legal basis for processing is to meet the requirements of a contract.
  2. To provide genotyping and sequencing services and analysis for our customers, including healthcare providers. The legal basis of this processing is to meet the requirements of a contract or as allowed in the Sample Information Form with a patient’s informed consent.
  3. To conduct genotyping and sequencing services and analysis for quality control, process and product development and improvements, and optimization in our labs to reflect quality improvements and advances in our technology. The legal basis for processing is the patient’s informed consent given through the Sample Information Form.

Transfer of Data

Your information, including personal data, may be transferred to - and maintained on - computers located outside your province, country or other governmental jurisdiction where the data protection laws may differ than those from your jurisdiction.

If you are located outside Cyprus and choose to provide information to us, please note that we transfer the data, including personal data, to Cyprus and process it there.

Your consent to this Privacy Policy followed by your submission of such information represents your agreement to that transfer.

NIPD Genetics will take all reasonable steps necessary to ensure that your data is treated securely and in accordance with this Privacy Policy and no transfer of your personal information will take place to an organization or a country unless there are adequate controls in place including the security of your data and other personal information.

Disclosure of Data

NIPD Genetics complies with the General Data Protection Regulation and will not sell or trade your personal information.

NIPD Genetics may disclose your personal information in the good faith that such action is necessary:

COOKIES AND OTHER TRACKING TECHNOLOGIES

Cookies are files with small amount of data which may include an anonymous unique identifiers. Cookies are sent to your browser when you visit a website and stored on your device. Tracking technologies used on the website are beacons, tags and scripts, to collect and track information and to improve and analyze our websites.

We use cookies and similar tracking technologies to track the activity on our websites and collect certain information. This includes information about the computer or device you are using, such as Internet protocol (IP) address, information about the browser type or version, the pages of our website that you visit, the time and date of your visit, the time spent on those pages, unique device identifiers and other diagnostic data.

You can instruct your browser to refuse all cookies or to indicate when a cookie is being sent. However, if you do not accept cookies, you may not be able to use some portions of our websites.

Examples of Cookies we may use:

Session Cookies. We use Session Cookies to operate our websites.

Preference Cookies. We use Preference Cookies to remember your preferences and various settings.

Security Cookies. We use Security Cookies for security purposes.

Visitor behavior cookies. To understand how visitors use and navigate the websites

Keyword cookies. To understand how visitors discover the websites.

ANALYTICS

We may use third-party Service Providers to monitor and analyze the use of our websites.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a web analytics service offered by Google that tracks and reports website traffic. Google uses the data collected to track and monitor the use of our service. This data is shared with other Google services. Google may use the collected data to contextualize and personalize the ads of its own advertising network.

You can opt-out of having made your activity on the Service available to Google Analytics by installing the Google Analytics opt-out browser add-on. The add-on prevents the Google Analytics JavaScript (ga.js, analytics.js, and dc.js) from sharing information with Google Analytics about visits activity.

For more information on the privacy practices of Google, please visit the Google Privacy & Terms web page

SECURITY OF DATA

We are committed to protecting the security of the information we collect, and we take reasonable physical, technical, and administrative safeguards such as data anonymization and encryption to help protect personal information from unauthorized or inappropriate access or use. It is your responsibility to protect the confidentiality of your passwords, and any other access features associated with your access or use of the website or our products and services, as well as to adhere to any applicable Terms of Use or other contract between us and you or your organization.

PERSONAL DATA RETENTION

We may retain collected information even after you remove it from the website, our Services, or our Products, to comply with applicable law, to resolve disputes, to enforce any rights in connection with the website, our Services, or our Products, and to use as provided in this Privacy Policy, the Terms of Use, or an applicable contract between us and you or your organization. How long we retain specific personal information varies depending on the purpose for its use and we may delete or retain your personal information in accordance with applicable law.

SERVICE PROVIDERS

We may employ third party companies and individuals to facilitate, maintain or operate our websites (“Service Providers”), to provide the websites on our behalf, to perform service-related services or to assist us in analyzing how our websites are used.

These third parties have access to your Personal Data only to perform these tasks on our behalf and are obligated not to disclose or use it for any other purpose.

LINKS TO OTHER SITES

Our websites may contain links to other sites that are not operated by us. If you click on a third-party link, you will be directed to that third party's site. We strongly advise you to review the Privacy Policy of every site you visit.

We have no control over and assume no responsibility for the content, privacy policies or practices of any third-party sites or services.

CHANGES TO THIS PRIVACY POLICY

This Privacy Policy may be updated from time to time. We will notify you of any changes by posting the new Privacy Policy on this page.

We will let you know via email and/or a prominent notice on our website, prior to the change becoming effective and update the “effective date” at the bottom of this Privacy Policy.

You are advised to review this Privacy Policy periodically for any changes. Changes to this Privacy Policy are effective when they are posted on this page.

YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS

NIPD Genetics ensures that it can respond immediately to requests that you make for the exercise of your legal rights in accordance with data protection laws. These rights are as follows:

You also have the right to lodge a complaint at any time to the Office of the Commissioner for Personal Data Protection.

We encourage you to contact us, should you wish to practice any of your legal rights or you have any questions about this Privacy Policy, by sending an email to NIPD Genetics’ Data Protection Officer at dpo@nipd.com.

Effective date: 18/06/2021

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