Without adequate management of PCOS, women suffering from the condition have a greater chance of developing several serious disorders, including type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Recent studies have found that:
- Before the age of 40, more than 50% of women with PCOS will develop type 2 diabetes or its precursor, pre-diabetes. The latter is a reversible form of impaired glucose tolerance. If neglected, pre-diabetes can lead to the type 2 variety, which is irreversible in most cases and poses a severely increased risk of blindness, kidney disease and the need for amputation.
- Women with PCOS have a four to seven times higher risk of a heart attack than women of the same age without PCOS.
- Women with PCOS are at greater risk of having heart-damaging high blood pressure.
- Women with PCOS tend to have high levels of LDL “bad” cholesterol and low levels of HDL “good” cholesterol, which can lead to a stroke.
Fortunately, the symptoms of PCOS can be improved and even reversed via a balanced, nutritious diet and regular exercise. Adopting a healthy lifestyle helps to restore hormonal imbalance caused by insulin resistance, which is often a key underlying cause of PCOS.