PCOS (Polycystic ovary syndrome) is known to affect the menstrual cycle and a woman’s fertility. However, PCOS is a complex disorder that can impact many organ systems. It can lead to serious long-term complications such as diabetes, heart diseases, cancer, etc. if it is not managed well.
Studies state that in women suffering from PCOS, various problems like gestational diabetes and gestational hypertensive disorders, glucose intolerance, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, endometrial cancer and obstructive sleep apnea can arise.
Gestational diabetes can occur during pregnancy, which may make you susceptible to type 2 diabetes in future. Women with PCOS frequently have insulin resistance, which results in higher glucose levels and more insulin produced. Over time, consistently high levels of glucose in the blood can lead to diabetes.
Women with PCOS have increased classical cardiovascular risks and increased subclinical cardiovascular disease without proven increase of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Due to high insulin levels that are commonly found among women with PCOS, the risk of high blood pressure and other cardiovascular diseases increases.
Another risk is endometrial cancer. During a normal menstrual cycle, the endometrium is exposed to hormones like estrogen, which cause the lining to proliferate and thicken. When ovulation does not occur for longer periods of time, which is typical in PCOS, the lining is not shed and is exposed to much higher amounts of estrogen. This causes the endometrium to grow much thicker than normal, which increases the chances of cancer cells to grow.
According to the studies conducted at the University of Chicago, women suffering from PCOS are at an exceptionally high risk of obstructive sleep apnea. Although weight plays a huge role in this, other factors also contribute to this risk among the women with PCOS.
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