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Toxemia

Toxemia

Toxemia is the presence of abnormal substances in the blood, but the term is also used in reference to a condition in pregnancy also known as preeclampsia. This refers to pregnancy-induced hypertension (high blood pressure ) and any possible accompanying symptoms, such as quick or sudden weight gain, water retention, and excessive swelling of the feet, hands, and face. The condition is most common among first pregnancies, with multiple births (e.g., twins), in younger or older women, and in women who had preeclampsia in previous pregnancies. It generally occurs near the due date, but it can also occur earlier in pregnancy. When monitoring a female with toxemia, the blood pressure and urine protein are checked often and bed rest may be prescribed. Toxemia can be mild or severe. When severe, it is dangerous for both the pregnant female and her child, especially if the mother's blood pressure gets too high.

see also Pregnancy.

Judith C. Rodriguez

Bibliography

Sizer, Frances, and Whitney, Eleanor (2003). Nutrition Concepts and Controversies, 9th edition. Belmont, CA: Thomson.

Internet Resources

Hill, D. Ashley. "Issues and Procedures in Women's Health: Pre-eclampsia." Available from http://www.obgyn.net

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toxemia

toxemia (tŏksē´mēə), disease state caused by the presence in the blood of bacterial toxins or other harmful substances. The effects of the bacterial toxins known as endotoxins are relatively uniform, regardless of which bacterial species the toxin comes from, and are separate from the effects caused by the infecting bacterium itself. A small amount of endotoxin (released by dead bacteria) produces one or more fever episodes, thought to be caused by release of a fever-inducing substance from damaged white blood cells. Large quantities of endotoxin cause shock and death. Exotoxins are proteins released by bacteria that have specific effects on target tissues, e.g., botulinus toxin affects the nervous system. See also septicemia.

The term toxemia is also used for a disorder occurring during the latter half of pregnancy characterized by high blood pressure, the appearance of protein in the urine, and edema. If not treated it can result in convulsions and coma. The cause of toxemia of pregnancy has not been established with certainty. See also eclampsia.

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toxemia

tox·e·mi·a / täkˈsēmēə/ (Brit. tox·ae·mi·a) • n. blood poisoning by toxins from a local bacterial infection. ∎  (also toxemia of pregnancy) another term for preeclampsia. DERIVATIVES: tox·e·mic / -ˈsēmik/ adj.

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