Characterizing cardiovascular risk in women with polycystic ovary syndrome: More than the sum of its parts?

Alice Y. Chang, Robert A. Wild

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a condition of irregular menses and androgen excess, is the most common endocrinopathy of young women. Insulin resistance is a wellestablished feature among many women with PCOS, even in the nonobese. Therefore, it is not surprising that PCOS is frequently associated with cardiovascular risk factors and the metabolic syndrome. However, it is not known whether PCOS is an independent risk factor for atherosclerosis and cardiovascular (CV) events or whether CV risk is attributable to associated risk factors. We review previous studies on CV risk and disease in women with PCOS, describing the pitfalls and challenges in ascribing CV risk to PCOS. Women with PCOS might be partly reassured that their relative risk approximates that of the metabolic syndrome (RR 1.5) and also strongly counseled at the individual level about the greatest potential threat to their CV health, the development of type 2 diabetes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)299-305
Number of pages7
JournalSeminars in Reproductive Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2009


  • Androgen excess
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Insulin resistance
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Type 2 diabetes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Endocrinology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Physiology (medical)


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