Greater Risk for Type 2 Diabetes in Women with PCOS

Increased type 2 diabetes risk in polycystic ovary syndrome patients was independent of obesity

(RxWiki News) Polycystic ovary syndrome is a hormonal disorder that affects many women. In the past, the condition has been linked to type 2 diabetes, but it hasn't been clear whether weight plays a role in that diabetes risk as well.

A recent study revealed that the risk for type 2 diabetes in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) was present even in women who were not overweight.

"Ask your OB-GYN about risks associated with PCOS."

This research was presented by Helena Jane Teede, MBBS, FRACP, PhD, professor of Women’s Health and director of the Monash Centre for Health Research and Implementation of the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine of Monash University in Clayton, Victoria, Australia.

PCOS is a condition in which a women's hormones are out of balance. Women with PCOS often have menstrual and fertility problems. They also may have excess hair growth, acne and obesity.

The research was conducted on women selected from the national health insurance database in Australia who were surveyed six times over 12 years. The study used two years of survey data that included responses from 6,384 women.

The surveys collected data on whether the women had PCOS, type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure, as well as information on their weight and height.

The researchers calculated body mass (BMI) of the women from the data they provided. BMI is a measure of body fat.

Analysis of the data showed that, in women ages 34 to 37 years old, PCOS was diagnosed in 8.8 percent.

Type 2 diabetes was present in 3.8 percent of the women with PCOS and in less than 1 percent of the women without PCOS.

Both PCOS and weight were associated with type 2 diabetes. Women with PCOS had 3.5 times the risk of having type 2 diabetes compared to women without PCOS.

Increased BMI did not change the risk for type 2 diabetes in women with PCOS. In women without PCOS, the risk of type 2 diabetes increased as BMI increased.

“[PCOS] is a common and complex condition that must now be recognized to have not only reproductive features but also important metabolic features, including a high risk of diabetes at a young age, independent of obesity,” Dr. Teede said in a press statement.

"Regular screening and implementation of preventive measures are warranted in women with PCOS," she said.

These study results were presented at a poster session on June 21 at the joint meeting of the International Society of Endocrinology and the Endocrine Society in Chicago.

This study was funded by the Australian government.

Review Date: 
June 26, 2014