HELLP syndrome

HELLP syndrome, is a life-threatening situation caused due to pregnancy-induced high blood pressure. Nearly twelve percent of pregnant women is prone to this syndrome. HELLP, is the abbreviated form of three irregularities associaated with the syndrome . They are Hemolytic anemia, Elevated Liver Enzymes, Low Platelet count. Hemolysis is the breakdown of red blood cells. Elevated liver cells cause damage to the liver cells and affects its functioning. Another problem is the decrease in the count of blood platelets. Decline in the number of platelets prevents blood from clotting.

The precise cause of HELLP syndrome remains unknown. However, previous pregnancy with HELLP syndrome and preeclampsia during pregnancy can land a pregnant woman in the danger zone. HELLP syndrome is a matter of seriuos concern since incresed blood pressure reduces the flow of blood to internal organs. Along with this, the break down of red blood cells (RBC) is likely to cause anemia. A serious blood clotting complication termed as Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation (DIC) is another possibility. DIC will lead to intensified bleeding or hemorrage. Early detachment of placenta, termed as placental abruption, is another threat usually seen in HELLP cases. All these problems together pose danger to the lives of both mother and the baby.

The symptoms of the syndrome are extremely similar to that of the normal high blood pressure cases. However, nausea, headache, upper abdominal pain towards the right side, swelling and increased protein loss through urine are the common symptoms found in HELLP victims. It is only after proper diagnosis that the syndrome can be detected. Along with blood pressure check up, red blood cell count, bilirubin level, platelet count and urine tests for protein help in confirming a case of HELLP syndrome. Overall health of the patient, her medical history, tolerance to particular medications and therapies are all taken in to account before prescribing the mode of treatment. However, doctors in such cases always advise complete bed rest.


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