Complications of PCOS
Other health problems that have been linked to PCOS include information on prediabetes, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome and endometrial cancer.
Coping with the symptoms of PCOS and managing the treatments can be demanding. To then learn there can be complications and added risks to your health from PCOS can be distressing.
Just being aware there are accessorial risks is a very important initiative. Once you have the symptoms of PCOS under control then you can turn your mind to thinking about ways to prevent further complications. The good news is that many of the treatments you will use for your PCOS will also help to prevent many of the complications.
What are the complications of PCOS?
Besides insulin resistance and the high levels of androgens (‘male’ hormones) associated with PCOS, other health issues women with PCOS may encounter include:
- Weight gain or obesity
- Type 2 diabetes
- Cardiovascular disease
- Metabolic syndrome (generally having at least two of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, high fasting blood glucose)
- Endometrial cancer
- Sleep apnoea
Weight gain & obesity
PCOS will occur in girls of any weight, however, up to 75% of women with PCOS are overweight or obese. This excess weight is additional probably to be focused round the abdominal (stomach) region. This gives you an ‘apple’ shape. Women while not PCOS tend to be a ‘pear’ form, with weight concentrated around the hips, buttocks and thighs.
Being overweight, and especially having a high amount of abdominal obesity, is associated with:
A higher risk of endocrine resistance (a state wherever the body does not use the on the market endocrine effectively to assist keep the aldohexose levels stable, ie the insulin produced is not working properly)
Problems with infertility
A higher risk of type 2 diabetes
A higher risk of disorder, including high blood pressure and heart disease
Importance of waist circumference
A simple way to assess your abdominal weight is to measure your waist circumference. The suggested waist circumference is a smaller amount than 80cm for adult girls.
To measure this accurately you should:
- Breathe out normally
- Take the measure
- Make sure the tape is snug, without squeezing the skin
Measuring your BMI
Another way to measure if you are overweight is to calculate your BMI (Body Mass Index). You calculate your BMI as your weight (in kilograms) divided by your height (in metres) squared (height x height).
Metabolic syndrome could be a assortment of conditions (listed below) that always occur along and increase the chance of kind two polygenic disorder and vas disease:
- Impaired glucose tolerance (indicating the beginnings of insulin resistance)
- High blood pressure
- Abdominal obesity
- High blood cholesterol
Prediabetes & type 2 diabetes
Women with PCOS have between four and seven times increased risk of developing prediabetes and type 2 diabetes than women without PCOS. Prediabetes is the stage before type 2 diabetes. Women with PCOS are additional probably to develop polygenic disorder earlier, eg in their 30s and 40s. This risk is further increased by:
- being overweight or obese
- having insulin resistance
- having an instantaneous friend with kind two polygenic disorder
Women with PCOS have a higher risk of developing diabetes in pregnancy (gestational diabetes). This risk increases if you are overweight when pregnant.
Women with PCOS ar thought to be at higher risk of getting future cardiovascular disease or stroke. There are a number of factors that increase the risk of cardiovascular disease such as:
- high blood fats or cholesterol
- high levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol or low density lipoprotein cholesterol which increases the risk of developing heart disease
- high levels of inflammatory proteins, which can alter the function of blood vessels and increase insulin resistance
- high blood pressure
While being overweight can increase these risks, these risks appear to be increased in PCOS independent of the effect of obesity.
Having the condition PCOS doesn’t cause endometrial carcinoma, rather it is having very infrequent periods which may increase the risk of endometrial cancer. Chronic biological process (lack of eggs being discharged regularly) results in an absence of discharge or shedding of the liner of the female internal reproductive organ (endometrium). If this happens, the endometrium can thicken which can increase the risk of abnormal cells that, as a woman ages, can develop into cancerous cells.
This risk will be greatly reduced with treatments like the prophylactic device pill. By improving the regularity of the menstrual cycle, the uterine lining is shed more often during menstruation.
Adequate physical activity and having a healthy body weight can also assist in normalising periods and reducing the risk of endometrial cancer.
What you can do
If you are worried about the complications of PCOS it is helpful to:
- Get your symptoms of PCOS under control as a first step
- Learn about and understand your risks
- Have your blood pressure, blood glucose and cholesterol checked regularly
- Seek steerage and support to assist with weight management if required
- Discuss any of your concerns with your doctor
You can also read our last blog on Chocolate for PCOS:-
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