HELLP syndrome is a life-threatening but rare liver and blood clotting condition that can affect pregnant women and is often seen in conjunction with preeclampsia. Both preeclampsia and HELLP typically happen in the later stage of pregnancy, and may even occur after childbirth. HELLP is an acronym, and stands for:
- H (hemolysis – the rupture of red blood cells)
- EL (elevated liver enzymes)
- LP (low platelet count)
In the absence of the symptoms of preeclampsia (high blood pressure and protein in the urine), HELLP syndrome may be misdiagnosed as flu, acute hepatitis, gall bladder disease, gastritis, or a range of other conditions.
If untreated, HELLP can be life-threatening, hence why early diagnosis and treatment is essential.