Women in their 30s and 40s with a common condition affecting how the ovaries work are more likely to get heart disease.
“Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) isn’t a life sentence – there are many ways to stay heart healthy. Small changes add up, like eating more fruits and vegetables and doing more exercise,” said study author Clare Oliver-Williams from the University of Cambridge in the UK.
According to the study, published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, It is estimated that 6-20 per cent of women of reproductive age have PCOS.
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Features of the condition include multiple cysts (fluid-filled sacs) on the ovaries, irregular periods, excess body hair or hair loss from the head due to high levels of male hormones, and difficulty becoming pregnant.
Women with PCOS are more likely to be overweight or obese, have diabetes, and have high blood pressure – all risk factors for heart disease and stroke.This study examined whether this risky profile translates into a greater likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease – and, for the first time, whether that persists across the lifespan.
“Some PCOS symptoms are only present during the reproductive years, so it’s possible that the raised chance of heart disease might disappear later in life,” Oliver-Williams said.
The study included 60,574 women receiving treatment to help them get pregnant, such as in vitro fertilisation (IVF), from 1994 to 2015.
Of those, 6,149 (10.2 per cent) had PCOS.
The researchers used medical records to follow women for nine years. During that period, 2,925 (4.8 per cent) women developed cardiovascular disease.
Overall, women with PCOS were at 19 per cent higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease than women who did not have PCOS.
When divided into age groups, women with PCOS aged 50 and over did not have a higher risk of developing cardiovascular risk compared to their peers without PCOS.
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The findings showed that women in their 30s and 40s with PCOS were at greater risk of cardiovascular disease compared to those without PCOS.
The evidence in those under 30 was less clear; this is likely because there were insufficient women of that age in the dataset to identify the risk.
“Heart health appears to be a particular problem for young women with PCOS. This may be because they are more likely to be overweight and have high blood pressure and diabetes compared to their peers,” the authors wrote. (IANS)