Breaking News
December 15, 2018 - When should dementia patients stop driving? A new guidance for clinicians
December 15, 2018 - Researchers use INTEGRA’s VIAFLO 96/384 to streamline the experimental workflow
December 15, 2018 - Researchers discover protein involved in nematode stress response
December 15, 2018 - Cancer patients have greater risk of developing shingles, study shows
December 14, 2018 - UAlberta scientists identify biomarkers for detecting Alzheimer’s disease in saliva samples
December 14, 2018 - Study uncovers link between tube travel and spread of flu-like illnesses
December 14, 2018 - Caffeine plus another compound in coffee may fight Parkinson’s disease
December 14, 2018 - GW researchers review studies on treatments for prurigo nodularis
December 14, 2018 - Lack of peds preventive care ups unplanned hospital admissions
December 14, 2018 - Miscarriage: When Language Deepens Pain
December 14, 2018 - New method helps better understand pathological development of ALS
December 14, 2018 - Intellectually active lifestyle confers protection against neurodegeneration in Huntington’s patients
December 14, 2018 - Mammalian collagen nanofibrils become stronger and tougher with exercise
December 14, 2018 - Considerable Morbidity, Mortality Due to Animal Encounters
December 14, 2018 - Researchers find inhibiting one protein destroys toxic clumps seen in Parkinson’s disease
December 14, 2018 - How early physical therapy can lessen the long-term need for opioids
December 14, 2018 - Depression, suicide rates highest in Mountain West states
December 14, 2018 - New model could cure the potential to underestimate how quickly diseases spread
December 14, 2018 - Exercise-induced hormone activates cells critical for bone remodeling in mice
December 14, 2018 - Researchers discover new mechanism behind spread of malignant pleural mesothelioma
December 14, 2018 - Health Tip: Celebrate a Healthier Holiday
December 14, 2018 - Scalpel-free surgery enhances quality of life for Parkinson’s patients, study finds
December 14, 2018 - Early physical therapy can reduce risk, amount of long-term opioid use | News Center
December 14, 2018 - Genetic marker, predictor of early relapse in common childhood cancer discovered
December 14, 2018 - Study could lead to a potential new way of treating sepsis
December 14, 2018 - New protein complex helps embryonic stem cells to maintain their indefinite potential
December 14, 2018 - Salk professor receives $1.8 million from NOMIS Foundation for research on mechanisms to promote health
December 14, 2018 - New discovery will improve the safety and predictability of CRISPR
December 14, 2018 - Geneticists discover how sex-linked disorders arise
December 14, 2018 - New method to visualize small-molecule interactions inside cells
December 14, 2018 - Study describes mechanism that makes people more vulnerable to hunger-causing stimuli
December 14, 2018 - Chronic opioid therapy associated with increased healthcare spending and hospital stays
December 14, 2018 - Blood Types
December 14, 2018 - Obesity linked to increased risk of early-onset colorectal cancer
December 14, 2018 - Blood test helps identify distinct molecular signatures in children with cystic fibrosis
December 14, 2018 - Scientists use water to track electrical activity of nerve cells
December 14, 2018 - Recurrence of urinary tract infection may depend on bacterial strain, study shows
December 14, 2018 - GBT Announces U.S. FDA Agrees with its Proposal Relating to Accelerated Approval Pathway for Voxelotor for the Treatment of Sickle Cell Disease and GBT Plans to Submit New Drug Application (NDA)
December 14, 2018 - Partial Thromboplastin Time (PTT) Test: MedlinePlus Lab Test Information
December 14, 2018 - Common tactics for health promotion at work may be detrimental to employees with obesity
December 14, 2018 - Myths about migration and health not supported by available evidence
December 14, 2018 - Recent findings on rare genetic disorder may help develop new treatment options
December 14, 2018 - New drug shows promise in treating sarcomas
December 14, 2018 - Scientists perform lung lavage as new approach for tuberculosis diagnosis in rhinoceros
December 14, 2018 - Answering the Biggest Neurological Research Questions of Today
December 14, 2018 - Recent winners of the Nobel Medicine Prize
December 14, 2018 - KHN’s ‘What the Health?’ Insurance enrollment is lagging — and there are lots of reasons why
December 14, 2018 - Study assesses safety and efficacy of new treatment for pancreatic cancer
December 14, 2018 - Weakened metabolism of immune T cells may account for serious complications in elderly
December 14, 2018 - Study finds drug targets for Ebola, Dengue, and Zika viruses
December 14, 2018 - Face masks may offer protection against staph bacteria for hog farm workers and their household members
December 14, 2018 - Shining new light on neuron firing
December 14, 2018 - Study highlights need for personalized approach to treat ICU acquired delirium
December 14, 2018 - Soot particles from road traffic significantly contribute to air pollution
December 14, 2018 - Massage helps relieve pain, improve mobility in patients with knee osteoarthritis
December 14, 2018 - Researchers explore home healthcare nurses’ knowledge attitudes toward infection control
December 14, 2018 - Average outpatient visit in the U.S. costs nearly $500, shows new study
December 14, 2018 - Reference Infliximab, Biosimilar Equivalent for Crohn’s Disease
December 14, 2018 - New contact lens to treat eye injuries
December 14, 2018 - Acne could have a genetic basis find researchers promising new cure
December 14, 2018 - Higher physical activity associated with improved mood
December 14, 2018 - New UGA study points to optimal hypertension treatment for stroke patients
December 14, 2018 - Study highlights factors that can reduce food cravings
December 14, 2018 - Researchers discover Ebola-fighting protein in human cells
December 14, 2018 - Fentanyl surpasses heroin in cause of U.S. drug overdose deaths
December 14, 2018 - When Heart Attack Strikes, Women Often Hesitate to Call for Help
December 14, 2018 - A warning about costume contacts
December 14, 2018 - Study examines link between peripheral artery disease and heart attack
December 14, 2018 - Researchers develop biotechnological tool to produce antifungal proteins in plants
December 14, 2018 - 3D-printed adaptive aids can benefit patients with arthritis
December 14, 2018 - Chronic bullying during adolescence impacts mental health
December 14, 2018 - Integral Molecular and Merus collaborate to develop bispecific antibody therapeutics
December 13, 2018 - Importance of cell cycle and cellular senescence in the placenta discovered
December 13, 2018 - Gold “nanoprisms” open new window into vessels and single cells
December 13, 2018 - Research findings could lead to new targets for cancer-fighting therapeutics
December 13, 2018 - Butantan Institute signs collaboration agreement with MSD to develop dengue vaccines
December 13, 2018 - Study explores how patients want to discuss symptoms with doctors
December 13, 2018 - RUDN medics first to gather scattered data on hepatitis morbidity in Somalia
December 13, 2018 - Age and gender disparities found in use of bed nets to prevent malaria in sub-Saharan Africa
December 13, 2018 - Caffeine therapy benefits developing brains of premature babies
PCOS and Diabetes, Heart Disease, Stroke… | Features & Spotlights | Resources & Publications | Diabetes

PCOS and Diabetes, Heart Disease, Stroke… | Features & Spotlights | Resources & Publications | Diabetes

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print

Ever heard of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)? If you’re a woman who has had trouble getting pregnant, you might have. Just about everyone else? Probably not.

PCOS is one of the most common causes of female infertility, affecting 6% to 12% (as many as 5 million) of US women of reproductive age. But it’s a lot more than that. PCOS is a lifelong health condition that continues far beyond the child-bearing years.

Women with PCOS are often insulin resistant; their bodies can make insulin but can’t use it effectively, increasing their risk for type 2 diabetes. Women with PCOS have higher levels of androgens (male hormones that females also have), which can stop eggs from being released (ovulation) and cause irregular periods, acne, thinning scalp hair, and excess hair growth on the face and body.

Woman sitting in a cafe

Women with PCOS can develop serious health problems, especially if they are overweight:

  • Diabetes—more than half of women with PCOS develop type 2 diabetes by age 40
  • Gestational diabetes (diabetes when pregnant)—which puts the pregnancy and baby at risk and can lead to type 2 diabetes later in life for both mother and child
  • Heart disease—women with PCOS are at higher risk, and risk increases with age
  • High blood pressure—which can damage the heart, brain, and kidneys
  • High LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and low HDL (“good”) cholesterol—increasing the risk for heart disease
  • Sleep apnea—a disorder that causes breathing to stop during sleep and raises the risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes
  • Stroke—plaque (cholesterol and white blood cells) clogging blood vessels can lead to blood clots that in turn can cause a stroke

PCOS is also linked to depression and anxiety, though the connection is not fully understood.

What Causes PCOS?

The exact causes of PCOS aren’t known at this time, but androgen levels that are higher than normal play an important part. Excess weight and family history—which are in turn related to insulin resistance—can also contribute to PCOS.

Weight…

Does being overweight cause PCOS? Does PCOS make you overweight? The relationship is complicated and not well understood. Being overweight is associated with PCOS, but many women of normal weight have PCOS, and many overweight women don’t.

Family History…

PCOS tends to run in families. Women whose mother or sister has PCOS or type 2 diabetes are more likely to develop PCOS.

…and Insulin Resistance

Lifestyle can have a big impact on insulin resistance, especially if a woman is overweight because of an unhealthy diet and lack of physical activity. Insulin resistance also runs in families. Losing weight will often help improve symptoms no matter what caused the insulin resistance.

Finding Out if You Have PCOS

Sometimes PCOS symptoms are clear, and sometimes they’re less obvious. You may visit a dermatologist (skin doctor) for acne, hair growth, or darkening of the skin in body creases and folds such as the back of the neck (acanthosis nigricans), a gynecologist (doctor who treats medical conditions that affect women and female reproductive organs) for irregular monthly periods, and your family doctor for weight gain, not realizing these symptoms are all part of PCOS. Some women with PCOS will have just one symptom; others will have them all. Women of every race and ethnicity can have PCOS.

It’s common for women to find out they have PCOS when they have trouble getting pregnant, but it often begins soon after the first menstrual period, as young as age 11 or 12. It can also develop in the 20s or 30s.

To determine if you have PCOS, your doctor will check that you have at least 2 of these 3 symptoms:

  1. Irregular periods or no periods, caused from lack of ovulation
  2. Higher than normal levels of male hormones that may result in excess hair on the face and body, acne, or thinning scalp hair
  3. Multiple small cysts on the ovaries

Just having ovarian cysts isn’t enough for a PCOS diagnosis. Lots of women without PCOS have cysts on their ovaries and lots of women with PCOS don’t have cysts.

What You Can Do

See your health care provider if you have irregular monthly periods, are having trouble getting pregnant, or have excess acne or hair growth. If you’re told you have PCOS, ask about getting tested for type 2 diabetes and how to manage the condition if you have it. Making healthy changes such as losing weight if you’re overweight and increasing physical activity can lower your risk for type 2 diabetes, help you better manage diabetes, and prevent or delay other health problems.

There are also medicines that can help you ovulate, as well as reduce acne and hair growth. Make sure to talk with your health care provider about all your treatment options.

Find Out More

CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation
PCOS Fact Sheet
Common Reproductive Health Concerns for Women
Infertility in Women
Being Physically Active
Diabetes Features & Spotlights
CDC Diabetes on Facebook
@CDCDiabetes on Twitter

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles