Cardiovascular risk in postmenopausal women with the polycystic ovary syndrome.Maturitas 2011; 68(1):13-6M
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is one of the commonest endocrine disorders, affecting 5-10% of the female population of reproductive age. "Classic" PCOS is characterized by clinical or biochemical hyperandrogenism and oligo-ovulation. According to the 2003 Rotterdam criteria, two additional phenotypes are recognized: (1) the ovulatory patient with androgen excess and polycystic ovarian morphology and (2) the anovulatory patient with polycystic ovarian morphology without androgen excess. PCOS is associated with an adverse cardiometabolic profile, consisting of increased total or central adiposity, increased blood pressure, a pro-atherogenic lipid profile, increased inflammatory markers, insulin resistance and abnormal glucose metabolism. Furthermore, the incidence of overt or gestational diabetes mellitus, as well as of preeclampsia is significantly higher in PCOS patients. Among the various PCOS phenotypes, those with evidence of androgen excess have the highest burden of cardiovascular risk. Studies evaluating the incidence of cardiovascular disease in postmenopausal women with PCOS are extremely sparse. The available data so far indicate that coronary heart disease, as well as cerebrovascular disease is more common in postmenopausal PCOS patients. Persisting high androgen levels through the menopause, obesity and maturity onset diabetes mellitus are proposed as the main mechanisms accounting for the increased risk.