Polycystic ovary syndrome and cardiometabolic risk: Opportunities for cardiovascular disease prevention

Trends Cardiovasc Med. 2020 Oct;30(7):399-404. doi: 10.1016/j.tcm.2019.08.010. Epub 2019 Sep 4.


Although polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is one of the most common endocrine disorders affecting women, its etiology is not entirely understood. Clinical symptoms of PCOS include acne, amenorrhea or oligomenorrhea, hirsutism, infertility, and mood disorders, which tend to be the primary focus of clinical management. However, the impact of PCOS on future cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk should not be overlooked, and opportunities to implement CVD prevention strategies in these women should be given high priority. The pathogenesis of PCOS commonly involves insulin resistance which leads to several cardiometabolic abnormalities (e.g., dyslipidemia, hypertension, glucose intolerance, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome), thereby putting women at an increased risk for CVD. Prior studies have found that subclinical CVD markers such as coronary artery calcium scores, C-reactive protein, carotid intima-media thickness, and endothelial dysfunction are more likely to be increased in women with PCOS. While the associations between PCOS and cardiometabolic abnormalities have been well established, whether PCOS is associated with subclinical and clinical CVD, independently of these CVD risk factors, is not entirely clear. Lifestyle interventions and weight management may mitigate some of these future CVD risks and should be encouraged. This review summarizes the literature on PCOS and CVD risk factors and provides recommendations that would aid clinicians in the management of these risk factors.

Keywords: Cardiovascular risk; Insulin resistance; Polycystic ovarian syndrome; Prevention; Women.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases / diagnosis
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / physiopathology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Healthy Lifestyle*
  • Humans
  • Metabolic Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Metabolic Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Metabolic Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Metabolic Syndrome / therapy*
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / therapy*
  • Preventive Health Services*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Risk Reduction Behavior*
  • Treatment Outcome