A new position statement issued today by the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) states that women with the Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) are at greatest risk for diabetes and coronary artery disease.
AACE is seeking greater awareness among the public and medical professionals of the significant health risks of this common disorder of women.
PCOS is the most common hormonal disorder of young women, affecting 10% of reproductive-age females in the United States. Its presenting symptoms may include irregular menses, infertility, abnormal growth of facial and body hair, scalp hair loss, and acne. Many women with PCOS are unaware they have they syndrome, let alone are at risk for serious complications such as heart disease, the leading killer of women in this country.
The new AACE position statement on PCOS highlights the serious cardiovascular risk factors associated with the disorder, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and blood vessel abnormalities. The purpose of the position statement is to inform physicians and the public of the need to identify women with PCOS and, once a diagnosis is established, to search for metabolic and cardiovascular risk factors which may be associated with the syndrome.
"The physician should no longer regard these women as merely having annoying cosmetic complaints, or only suffering from infertility, but as having potential metabolic disorders that may be associated with type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular events," comments Rhoda H. Cobin, MD, FACE, Chair of the PCOS Task Force. "Although the patient's immediate problems and concerns require sensitive attention and prompt therapy, physicians should also take this opportunity to practice proactive preventive medicine."
AACE has partnered with the Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome Association (PCOSA), an organization of women with this disorder, to highlight the most striking new research findings and raise public awareness of this important disorder. PCOSA's annual meeting will be held this weekend, October 8-10, in Rye Brook, New York.