Women with polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS are at risk for many potentially life-threatening conditions as a result of untreated PCOS, cardiovascular disease is one of them.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is the most common hormonal (endocrine) syndrome in women affecting up to 21 percent worldwide. It is a metabolic syndrome that affects several body systems and can cause significant long-term health consequences including heart disease.
Some key features of PCOS that can increase heart disease risks are production of excess androgens (male sex hormones) and anovulation (the failure to ovulate properly), which makes PCOS the leading cause of anovulatory infertility. Emerging research is also identifying the important roles of insulin receptors and chronic inflammation’s role in PCOS, which can further the risks for cardiovascular disease.
As it stands, women with PCOS are at seven times higher risk of cardiovascular disease and four times higher risk of stroke. For years, PCOS has been identified with multiple risk factors for coronary heart disease including; high cholesterol, irregular menstrual cycles, obesity and hypertension. However we are just now starting to take this connection seriously.
PCOS, with its symptomatic disorders of hypertension, excessive fat tissue in and around the abdominal area, blood fat disorders (high triglycerides and low HDL), high blood pressure, hyperandrogenism (elevated levels of male hormones) and insulin resistance are all contributing factors to cardiovascular disease.
Do you know about PCOS and its connection to cardiovascular disease risks?
PCOS patients are at higher risk for developing high blood pressure, lipid disorders and coronary artery disease. As many as 40 percent of PCOS patients as young as age 30-45 may have coronary calcification (a warning of heart attack risk). Researchers have discovered that the carotid artery, which is located in the neck, is thicker in women with PCOS equaling a higher heart disease risk.
- The risk for heart disease is two times higher for patients with PCOS.
- 50 percent of PCOS patients become diabetic by age 40 a risk factor for heart disease.
- Patients with PCOS are seven times at greater risk for heart attack.
- Patients with PCOS are four times at greater risk for stroke.
To learn more and help prevent PCOS related cardiovascular disease, please join us this Feb. during #HeartHealthMonth as we turn from our traditional teal to red for the fifth annual #Heart4PCOS Campaign. We will be posting photos, articles, patient interviews, and hosting live chats and videos throughout the month.
Let’s keep PCOS patients hearts beating by ending the silence about heart disease risks for women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.
About the Author:
Ashley Levinson is a PCOS Patient and has served as a patient advocate for over 20 years with a mission to advance awareness for PCOS, Chronic Illness and Women’s Health. Ashley has background in healthcare as an orthopedic surgical first assist and certified medical assistant.
She has been an advisor, executive director, volunteer and speaker to many health organizations including PCOS Challenge. Ashley has been featured in numerous blogs, newspapers and magazines and was featured on Discovery Health Channel’s Mystery Diagnosis. The10! Show and Fox News. Ashley has received multiple awards for her work including WEGO Health Awards Best of Twitter 2018.