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Eclampsia: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis and Treatment

Jul 31, 2023

Eclampsia: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis and Treatment

Eclampsia is an uncommon yet fatal side effect of preeclampsia. Preeclampsia is a condition that affects pregnant women and results in high blood pressure and protein in the urine. Eclampsia happens when a pregnant person with preeclampsia has convulsions or seizures. Periods of uncontrollable trembling, confusion, and disorientation are known as seizures.

Eclampsia typically appears after the 20th week of pregnancy. It is uncommon, occurring in less than 3% of those with preeclampsia. Eclampsia requires immediate medical attention and could cause complications for the unborn child.

Causes Of Eclampsia

Eclampsia is often followed by preeclampsia. High blood pressure that occurs both during pregnancy and, in rare instances, after birth is the hallmark of preeclampsia. Additional outcomes, such as protein in the urine, are also possible. If your preeclampsia worsens and begins to damage your brain, resulting in seizures, you have eclampsia.

The specific cause of preeclampsia is unknown, however, it is thought to result from abnormal placenta formation and function. They can explain how eclampsia can progress from preeclampsia symptoms.

Elevated blood pressure

Preeclampsia is the medical term for when your blood pressure, or the force of your blood against the walls of your arteries, increases to a level that harms your arteries and other blood vessels. Your arteries may become damaged, which would restrict blood flow.

Your brain's blood vessels and the growing foetus may grow as a result. If your brain's ability to function is hampered by this erratic blood flow through the arteries, seizures may result.


Preeclampsia frequently affects kidney function. Proteinuria, or the presence of urine protein, is a common sign of the condition. Every time you see the doctor, your urine can be checked for protein.

Normally, your kidneys produce urine by excreting waste from your blood. The kidneys try their best to retain nutrients in the blood, like protein, for redistribution to your body. If your kidneys' filters, called glomeruli, are damaged, protein may leak through and be excreted in your urine.

Symptoms of Eclampsia

Preeclampsia and eclampsia may develop into one another, so you may show signs of both. Some of your symptoms, though, could be caused by unidentified conditions like diabetes or kidney disease. It's essential to tell your doctor about all of your medical conditions so they can rule out any further factors.

The following preeclampsia warning signs and symptoms are typical:

  • Headaches
  • Swelling of the hands or face
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Unnecessary weight gain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Vision problems, such as brief bouts of blindness or difficulty seeing
  • Abdominal pain, especially in the right upper belly

Patients with eclampsia could display the same symptoms as those mentioned above, or they might possibly present with no symptoms at all. the subsequent warning signs and symptoms of eclampsia are:

  • Seizure
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Agitation

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Risk Factors Of Eclampsia

The primary risk factor for eclampsia is preeclampsia. Patients with preeclampsia often don't develop eclampsia. Additionally, there may be a higher chance of getting eclampsia if the following conditions are present:

  • Having an autoimmune condition.
  • Excessively high BMI.
  • Conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, or kidney problems.
  • Age of 35 years old or under 17 years old.
  • This is your first pregnancy.
  • Familial history of preeclampsia or eclampsia.

      However, it's possible that you lack any risk factors.

Diagnosis Of Eclampsia

Your obstetrician determines the eclampsia diagnosis based on the presence of a seizure. Blood testing, an examination, and regular blood pressure checks will be done. They also suggest urine testing to look for high protein levels in the urine.

  • Blood Testing: A high platelet or red blood cell count are example of aberrant factors that may be revealed by blood tests.
  • Tests of urine reveal that it often has a high protein content.
  • Exams to measure creatinine: Creatinine, a waste product, is typically removed from your blood by your kidneys. An abnormally high amount of creatinine could be a sign of renal failure.
  • To ensure the foetus is handling the situation, your healthcare provider will monitor it and utilise ultrasound to measure its heart rate, mobility, size, and other factors.

Treatment Of Eclampsia

The best way to treat preeclampsia and eclampsia is to deliver the baby and placenta. Your doctor will consider the disease's severity and your baby's developmental stage when deciding when to deliver.

Your doctor may monitor your condition and prescribe medicine to prevent mild preeclampsia from turning into eclampsia. Medication and monitoring will assist in keeping your blood pressure within a healthy range until the child is mature enough to give birth.

If you have severe preeclampsia or eclampsia, your doctor may start the labour process early. Your care plan will be determined by how far along you are in your pregnancy and the severity of your illness. Up until you give delivery, you will need to remain under monitoring in the hospital.


It can be necessary to take anticonvulsant drugs, also referred to as seizure control medications. You might need medicine to lower your blood pressure if you have high blood pressure. Steroids may also be administered to you, which could expedite the growth of your unborn child's lungs.

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