Study finds that women with PCOS are at increased risk for cardiovascular disease

04/05/05

Women who suffer from polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), one of the most common causes of female infertility in the U.S., have an increased chance of developing cardiovascular disease, according to a new study published this month in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, published by The Endocrine Society. The findings also report that the metabolic syndrome is more prevalent in women with PCOS, and that women with both conditions would exhibit more hormonal and menstrual cycle irregularity than women with PCOS only.

It is estimated that five to 10 percent of reproductive aged women suffer from PCOS. While there is no actual cure for PCOS, researchers are working to identify effective treatments as well as possible causes for the condition "Our study highlights the relationship between PCOS, metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease," explained senior author, Dr. John Nestler, Professor of Medicine; Chair, Division of Endocrinology & Metabolism and Vice Chair, Department of Internal Medicine at the Medical College of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University, "These findings, indicate that women with PCOS should automatically be screened for the metabolic syndrome, to prevent the risk of early-onset cardiovascular disease."

After reviewing medical charts for 161 women, study investigators identified 106 women (46 women with PCOS and the metabolic syndrome; 60 women with PCOS alone) for participation and analysis. The study revealed that women with PCOS are nearly two times as likely to have the metabolic syndrome in comparison with women without PCOS in the general population. Women demonstrating characteristics of both PCOS and the metabolic syndrome were found to also have more severe insulin resistance.

The researchers concluded that the metabolic syndrome and its related conditions, are common in women with PCOS, putting these women at even greater increased risk for developing cardiovascular disease.

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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