Frankie Bridge says she’s been diagnosed with polycystic ovaries
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Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) affects about one in every 10 women in the UK, but more than half of these women are symptom-free. Unfortunately, PCOS isn’t just about irregular periods, excessive hair growth and fertility problems, the condition increases your risk of other serious health problems. Express.co.uk reveals the six serious conditions associated with PCOS.
The symptoms of PCOS vary from mild to severe, and normally include:
- irregular periods or no periods at all
- difficulty getting pregnant (because of irregular ovulation or failure to ovulate)
- excessive hair growth (hirsutism) – usually on the face, chest, back or buttocks
- weight gain
- thinning hair and hair loss from the head
- oily skin or acne
- While the main concern for PCOS sufferers is normally infertility and managing the unpleasant symptoms, most people don’t realise that PCOS also increases your chances of the following six conditions.
Type 2 diabetes
More than half of women with PCOS develop type 2 diabetes by age 40.
Women with the condition find their bodies can’t use insulin effectively, which is why they are at a higher risk of type 2 diabetes.
The NHS site explains: “Type 2 diabetes is a lifelong condition that causes a person’s blood sugar level to become too high.”
Depression and mood swings are common among women with PCOS.
Some studies suggest that between 27 and 50 percent of women with PCOS are depressed, compared to around 19 percent of women without the condition.
This is not a direct cause of PCOS. The NHS said PCOS is likely to cause these mental health concerns because the symptoms of the condition can affect your confidence and self-esteem.
It is possible that the insulin resistance linked with PCOS is to blame for stress and depression.
It has also been suggested that the inflammation and high cortisol levels caused by PCOS increase stress and depression.
High blood pressure
Women with PCOS are at high risk of hypertension, also known as high blood pressure.
Although there are no symptoms of high blood pressure, it is one of the biggest causes of deadly conditions such as heart attack, kidney damage, and heart disease.
Data obtained from the Dallas Heart Study showed that women with PCOS have a higher prevalence of high blood pressure than those without it, regardless of race or ethnicity.
Around 70 percent of women with PCOS have experienced elevated cholesterol levels.
Women with PCOS are at risk of low levels of HDL (good cholesterol) and high levels of LDL (bad cholesterol), even when they are not insulin resistant.
If you have PCOS, you need to eliminate as much fatty food from your diet as possible and exercise regularly because high cholesterol can lead to heart disease and stroke.
Women with PCOS are more likely to be obese than women without PCOS.
The condition itself can cause weight gain, probably due to insulin resistance, and therefore high insulin levels in the blood.
High insulin levels increase the production of male hormones called androgen, which can lead to weight gain alongside excessive hair growth and acne.
Experts have noted that women with PCOS tend to carry weight where men carry weight – in the abdomen.
You may notice that you have an ‘apple’ shaped figure if you have PCOS.
If you are overweight as a result of PCOS, you may develop sleep apnoea.
This is a condition that causes interrupted breathing when sleeping, and it can lead to waking up a lot during the night.
The symptoms can also include slowed breathing, gasping, snorting or choking in your sleep, or very loud snoring.
Sleep apnoea can make you feel very tired during the day and can lead to mood swings, headaches, and finding it hard to concentrate.
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