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Eclampsia : Overview

What is eclampsia?

Eclampsia is a severe complication of preeclampsia. It’s a rare but serious condition where high vital sign 
leads to seizures during pregnancy.

Seizures are periods of disturbed brain activity which will cause episodes of staring, decreased alertness, and convulsions (violent shaking). Eclampsia affects about 1 in every 200 women with preeclampsia. You can develop eclampsia even if you don’t have a history of seizures.


What are the symptoms of eclampsia?

Because preeclampsia can cause 
eclampsia, you'll have symptoms of both conditions. However, some of your symptoms may be due to other conditions, such as kidney disease or diabetes. It’s important to inform your doctor about any conditions you've got in order that they may rule out other possible causes.

The following are common symptoms of preeclampsia:


Ø  elevated blood pressure

Ø  swelling in your face or hands

Ø  headaches

Ø  excessive weight gain

Ø  nausea and vomiting

Ø  vision problems, including episodes with loss of vision or blurry vision

Ø  difficulty urinating

Ø  abdominal pain, especially in the right upper abdomen

Patients with eclampsia can have an equivalent 
symptoms as those noted above, or may even present with no symptoms before the onset of eclampsia. The following are common symptoms of eclampsia:


Ø  seizures

Ø  loss of consciousness

Ø  agitation


What causes eclampsia?

Eclampsia often follows preeclampsia, which is characterized by high vital sign 
occurring in pregnancy and, rarely, postpartum. Other findings may also be present such as protein in the urine. If your preeclampsia worsens and affects your brain, causing seizures, you've got developed eclampsia.

Doctors don’t know for sure what causes preeclampsia, but it’s thought to result from abnormal formation and function of the placenta. They can explain how the symptoms of preeclampsia may cause eclampsia.

High blood pressure

Preeclampsia is when your blood pressure, or the force of blood against the walls of your arteries, becomes high enough to damage your arteries and other blood vessels. Damage to your arteries may restrict blood flow. It can produce swelling in the blood vessels in your brain and to your growing baby. If this abnormal blood flow through vessels interferes with your brain’s ability to function, seizures may occur.



Preeclampsia commonly affects kidney function. Protein in your urine, also known as proteinuria, is a common sign of the condition. Each time you have a doctor’s appointment, your urine may be tested for protein.

Typically, your kidneys filter waste from your blood and make 
urine from these wastes. However, the kidneys try to retain nutrients in the blood, such as protein, for redistribution to your body. If the kidneys’ filters, called glomeruli, are damaged, protein can leak through them and excrete into your urine.


Who is at risk for eclampsia?

If you have or have had preeclampsia, you may be at risk for eclampsia.

Other risk factors for developing eclampsia during pregnancy include:


Ø  gestational or chronic hypertension (high blood pressure)

Ø  being older than 35 years or younger than 20 years

Ø  pregnancy with twins or triplets

Ø  first-time pregnancy

Ø  diabetes or another condition that affects your blood vessels

Ø  kidney disease



Notice: Please consult your doctor before following any instruction of


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