Metabolic dysfunction in pcos: Relationship to obstructive sleep apnea

Steroids. 2012 Mar 10;77(4):290-4. doi: 10.1016/j.steroids.2011.12.001. Epub 2011 Dec 8.


Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) affects between 5% and 8% of women, making it one of the most common endocrinopathies in women. The disorder typically has its onset at puberty with evidence of excessive androgen production, obesity, and insulin resistance. Women with PCOS are more insulin resistant than weight-matched controls and have an exceptionally high prevalence of early-onset impaired glucose tolerance (30-40%), and type 2 diabetes (up to 10%). Over the past several years, chronic decreases in sleep duration and/or quality have been identified as a risk for the development of a number of metabolic derangements that are strikingly similar to those seen in PCOS. Specifically, decreased sleep quality due to obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) has been causally linked to insulin resistance, glucose intolerance, dyslipidemia and hypertension independent of body mass index (BMI). Until recently, however, it had not been recognized that OSA is present in a disproportionate number of women with PCOS: the risk for OSA is at least 5- to 10-fold higher compared to the risk in similarly obese women without PCOS. The causes and consequences of OSA in women with PCOS are addressed in this manuscript.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Body Fat Distribution
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / complications
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Metabolic Diseases / complications*
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / complications*
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / complications*