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What is the Difference Between Preeclampsia and Eclampsia?


The Mayo Clinic defines preeclampsia as a potentially fatal complication that impacts the liver and kidneys, one that can develop into eclampsia and a risk of seizures without proper care. Any person who is pregnant or planning to become pregnant should be aware of critical issues regarding these two health concerns.

If either of these conditions went undetected or untreated while you were pregnant, you may have legal remedies under Florida medical malpractice laws. You should discuss your options with a Florida birth injuries attorney, but an overview may also help you understand the relevant concepts.

Preeclampsia and Eclampsia are Serious Medical Conditions: Both disorders are accompanied by high blood pressure and damage to internal organs, usually the liver and kidneys. Preeclampsia describes the earliest stages of the disorder, while eclampsia is the medical condition that results when physicians do not address it.  Besides seizure, mother and fetus face the risks of coma and death.

The most prominent indication of preeclampsia is a continued period of high blood pressure and the presence of protein in the urine. Your health care provider can easily detect these issues and follow up with tests to determine their source. However, you should also note some of the symptoms you may experience:

  • Swelling of the hands, legs, and feet, commonly termed edema;
  • Severe headaches;
  • Shortness of breath;
  • Nausea or vomiting not related to pregnancy; and
  • Urinating less in terms of volume or frequency.

In addition, there are certain risk factors that make it more likely for a woman to develop preeclampsia, such as poor diet, obesity, chronic hypertension, a prior history of preeclampsia, and many more. 

Treatment for Preeclampsia and Eclampsia: There is no known cure for either of these conditions, other than delivering the baby. As a result, the earlier in the pregnancy you develop preeclampsia, the more serious your situation: Delivering a fetus early carries its own set of extreme risks. However, an early diagnosis also means your physician can recommend strategies for pregnancy care, such as:

  • Bed rest;
  • More frequent prenatal visits, along with urine and blood tests;
  • Medications that can safely treat high blood pressure;
  • Reducing salt intake;
  • Anti-seizure drugs;
  • Hospitalization for purposes of monitoring your condition and seizures; and
  • Medications that can support fetal lung development, which may make it possible to induce labor at an appropriate, safe time.

Consult with a Florida Birth Injuries Lawyer About Your Legal Options 

Both preeclampsia and eclampsia can be life-threatening, but the health implications for mother and fetus can be minimized through proper diagnosis and treatment. If your physician erred in detecting these conditions or providing care, please contact the Miami medical malpractice lawyers at Freidin Brown, P.A. to schedule a no-cost case evaluation at our offices. Once we review your circumstances, we can advise you on your options.



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