By AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION NEWS

ANAHEIM, California — Doctors have known for some time that high blood pressure during pregnancy puts women at higher risk for cardiovascular disease later in life. Now, a new study shows these women — particularly Asians and Pacific Islanders — are more likely to be hospitalized for heart failure within a few years after giving birth.

The study, presented this week at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions, included nearly 1.6 million women in California who had been hospitalized for heart failure or heart attack.

Women who experienced hypertension during pregnancy were hospitalized more often for heart failure than women who did not experience high blood pressure during pregnancy. A woman’s race affected those odds.

Black women were least likely to be hospitalized for heart failure, whereas Asian/Pacific Islander women were most likely. White and Hispanic women fell in the middle.

Women who experienced high blood pressure during pregnancy were also more likely to be hospitalized for a heart attack, although race didn’t appear to influence those odds.

Leila Beach, M.D., the study’s lead coauthor and a researcher at the University of California, San Francisco, said she and her colleagues want to expand their research to study stroke risk and how educational attainment, income level and other factors may be driving the disparities along racial and ethnic lines.

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