Women who have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) are four times at greater risk of developing Type 2 diabetes (Type-2 diabetes) and are also prone to be diagnosed at an earlier age with the blood-sugar condition, according to a new study. PCOS is a hormonal disorder causing enlarged ovaries with small cysts on the outer edges.
The findings showed that in women with PCOS, diabetes is diagnosed four years earlier.
The average age for women with PCOS who received a diagnosis of Type-2 diabetes was 31 years. The average age for women without PCOS and diagnosed with Type-2 diabetes was 35 years, the researchers said.
“The increased risk of developing Type-2 diabetes in PCOS is an important finding,” said one of the researchers Dorte Glintborg from Odense University Hospital in Denmark.
“Diabetes may develop at a young age and screening for diabetes is important, especially in women who are obese and have PCOS,” Glintborg added.
Women who have PCOS produce slightly higher amounts of testosterone and other androgen hormones than average. Although these reproductive hormones are typically associated with men, women also have small amounts.
The elevated levels of these hormones in women with PCOS can contribute to irregular or absent menstrual periods, infertility, weight gain, acne or excess hair on the face and body.
For the study, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, the team analysed two populations with PCOS: 18,477 pre-menopausal Danish women with a diagnosis of PCOS and a local sub-group of 1,162 women with PCOS who were examined at Odense University Hospital in Denmark.
Further, body mass index, insulin and glucose levels, and triglycerides were positively associated with development of Type-2 diabetes, whereas a higher number of births were negatively associated with the development of Type-2 diabetes, the researchers said.