Cardiometabolic Risk in PCOS: More than a Reproductive Disorder

Torchen, L. C.

Curr Diab Rep. 2017 Nov 13; 17(12):137


PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is diagnosed by its characteristic reproductive features. However, PCOS is also associated with metabolic abnormalities, including insulin resistance and beta-cell dysfunction. The severity of these abnormalities varies according to the reproductive phenotype, with the so-called NIH or classic phenotype conferring the greatest metabolic risk. The increased risk for type 2 diabetes (T2D) is well established among affected women with the NIH phenotype, but whether PCOS also confers an increased risk for cardiovascular events remains unknown. RECENT FINDINGS: Recent studies in daughters of affected women have found evidence for pancreatic beta-cell dysfunction prior to menarche. Further, genetic analyses have provided evidence that metabolic abnormalities such as obesity and insulin resistance contribute to the pathogenesis of PCOS. PCOS increases the risk for T2D. However, the risk for cardiovascular disease has not been quantified, and prospective, longitudinal studies are still critically needed.

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