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Cardiometabolic aspects of polycystic ovarian syndrome

Authors Li Wei Cho, Harpal S Randeva, Stephen L Atkin

Published 15 March 2007 Volume 2007:3(1) Pages 55—63


Li Wei Cho1, Harpal S Randeva2, Stephen L Atkin1

1Department of Medicine, University of Hull; 2Metabolic Unit, University Hospitals Coventry & Warwickshire NHS Trust, UK

Abstract: It is estimated that 6%–7% of women of reproductive age have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Women with this condition exhibit an adverse cardiovascular risk profile, characteristic of the cardiometabolic syndrome and given the high prevalence of PCOS in the female population, this condition may contribute towards the acceleration of cardiovascular disease among young women. This article summarizes the recent development and findings in the cardiometabolic abnormalities in patients with PCOS. Patients with PCOS have the clinical features of oligomenorrhoea, hirsutism and infertility; however, they also exhibit hyperinsulinemia, obesity, hypertension, dyslipidemia, and an increased pro-thrombotic state. They have an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and impaired glucose tolerance, and sleep apnea is also found more commonly in this population. However, despite the presence of cardiovascular risk factors and increased surrogate markers of cardiovascular disease it is unclear if they have accelerated atherosclerosis. End point studies are currently lacking and the available evidence are conflicting. Adipose tissue has emerged as an important endocrine organ over the last decade and gained recognition in having an important role in the cardiometabolic syndrome. Adiponectin that is secreted exclusively by adipocytes has recently been recognized as an important marker of cardiometabolic syndrome, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and coronary artery disease. Other adipocytokines like leptin and resistin have also recently been recognized. This article will address the current evidence for the adverse cardiovascular risk in PCOS and the other factors that may be implicated. Finally the therapeutic options for treatment will be discussed.

Keywords: cardiometabolic syndrome, polycystic ovarian syndrome, cardiovascular disease

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