The HELLP syndrome is a set of alterations that can occur in the embarrassment and are characterized by the destruction of erythrocytes, increase in liver enzymes and decrease in the number of platelets in the blood. This syndrome is generally associated with preeclampsia or eclampsia.
HELLP syndrome occurs especially in the third trimester of pregnancy, but it can also be present in the second trimester or in the postpartum period, causing symptoms such as general malaise, nausea, vomiting, headache and/or upper right side pain. of the belly, which many times can be confused with other conditions such as gastritis, flu or acute hepatitis, for example.
It is important to consult the obstetrician regularly and provide good prenatal care so that the HELLP syndrome is diagnosed early and treated as soon as possible to avoid complications that could pose a risk to the life of the woman and the baby.
The symptoms of HELLP syndrome are varied and generally appear around the 34th week of pregnancy, without embargo, they can also be present in the second trimester or even in the postpartum period.
The main symptoms are:
- General malaise;
- Pain near the mouth of the stomach;
- Nausea and vomiting;
- Inflammation, especially in the hands or face;
- Sudden excessive weight gain;
- Changes in the view such as blurry, double vision, with flashing lights or loss of view;
- Pain in the shoulder;
- Shortness of breath, difficulty breathing or pain while breathing deeply;
In addition, other symptoms that can be analyzed by a doctor to diagnose HELLP syndrome are an increase in blood pressure, presence of proteins in the urinary tract and abnormalities in the blood test, such as an increase in liver enzymes, decrease in the blood number of platelets or reduction of the number of erythrocytes.
It is important to seek immediate medical help or to go to the nearest emergency service, in case the pregnant woman has symptoms suggestive of HELLP syndrome, so that the diagnosis is made and the treatment is started as soon as possible.
Can the woman who suffered from HELLP syndrome become embarrassed again?
If the woman has had the HELLP syndrome and the treatment has been carried out correctly, the pregnancy can develop normally, mainly because the rate of recurrence of this syndrome is quite low.
Despite this, it is important that the pregnant woman has a close follow-up by the obstetrician to avoid any changes during the embarrassment.
How is the diagnosis performed?
The diagnosis of HELLP syndrome should be performed by the obstetrician based on the symptoms presented by the embarassed person and on the result of laboratory tests, such as a blood count, on which the characteristics of the erythrocytes, their shape and size are evaluated, in addition to check the number of platelets.
The doctor may request the performance of studies that evaluate the liver enzymes, which may also be altered in the HELLP syndrome, such as LDH, bilirubin, TGO and TGP, for example. Know the exams that evaluate the liver.
HELLP syndrome can be difficult to diagnose because symptoms of high blood pressure and protein in the urinary tract are also common in preeclampsia. In addition, other symptoms can also be confused with other recurrent conditions such as gastritis, influenza, acute hepatitis, gallbladder disease, thrombocytopenic purpura or lupus, for example.
The causes of HELLP syndrome are not fully known, but preeclampsia is considered the biggest risk factor for its development.
In addition, other factors can increase the risk of HELLP syndrome, such as:
- Tener more than 35 years;
- Being Caucasian;
- Diabetes or kidney disease;
- high pressure;
- History of preeclampsia or eclampsia.
In addition, some studies relate to the risk of presenting HELLP syndrome with genetic mutations in a woman or in a baby, however, no specific gene has been found responsible for this condition, being therefore considered as a condition in which many factors can contribute to its development.
How is the treatment performed?
The treatment for the HELLP syndrome is usually carried out in the hospital so that the obstetrician can constantly evaluate the evolution of the embarrassment and indicate the best moment and type of delivery, if possible.
The treatment will depend on the woman’s gestational age, being more common that after the 34th week, childbirth is induced in case the woman is stable, or a cesarean section is performed early to avoid complications for both the mother and the he baby. After delivery, the baby can be taken to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for monitoring and prevention of complications.
When the embarassed person is less than 34 weeks old, injections with corticoids in the muscle, such as betamethasone, can be applied to develop the baby’s lungs, with the intention of delaying childbirth. However, when the pregnant woman has less than 24 weeks of embargo, this type of treatment may not be effective, and the interruption of embarrassment may be necessary.
The HELLP syndrome can have some complications for the woman and for the baby that include:
- Complications for the woman: eclampsia, placental abruption, disseminated intravascular coagulation, recurrent thrombosis, rupture of the liver, infarction or cerebral hemorrhage, pulmonary or cerebral edema, acute renal failure, generalized infection;
- Complications for the baby: restriction of intrauterine growth, premature birth, neonatal thrombocytopenia or neonatal respiratory distress syndrome.
It is important that before the first signs and symptoms that indicate HELLP syndrome the woman receives immediate medical treatment to avoid complications that can put her life and baby at risk.
How to prevent the syndrome
The HELLP syndrome is a condition for which there is currently no prevention due to the fact that its exact cause is not known. The ideal is to always follow the obstetrician’s recommendations, carry out prenatal consultations and seek immediate medical help in case the woman has symptoms. See how prenatal care is carried out.
In addition, during pregnancy it is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle, performing the exercise recommended by the obstetrician and a balanced diet to help control diseases such as diabetes or high blood pressure, which can increase the risk of developing the HELLP syndrome. See how the diet should be during embarazo.
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