You’re not alone. Women with PCOS belong to a larger group with insulin resistance – a condition in which the body gradually loses sensitivity to insulin, the key blood sugar-regulating hormone.
Individuals with insulin resistance often have a family history of PCOS-linked heart disease and diabetes, as well as a characteristic type of obesity in which weight settles around the abdomen rather than below the waist. Other problems includes high levels of triglycerides in the blood, high blood pressure and low levels of “good” HDL cholesterol, which all increase the chance of heart disease and raise the risk of developing certain cancers.
Roughly 20% of people with insulin resistance have levels that climb out of the normal range and necessitate a diagnosis of pre-diabetes. Indeed, the number of people with the latter condition increased by 20% when the American Diabetes Association broadened its definition of pre-diabetes to include people with fasting blood glucose levels of 100 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) of blood. Previously, the cutoff point had been 110 mg/dL.
Fortunately, the symptoms of both PCOS and pre-diabetes can be reversed by also reversing insulin resistance via a balanced, nutritious diet and regular exercise leading to weight loss or better weight control.