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The most crucial thing to understand is that PCOS is not just a cosmetic or period problem. Women with PCOS often do not realize that they have an increased risk of developing a number of long term problems. A very interesting study done by University of Pennsylvania was published recently in Journal of Pediatrics (Dec 2012). The objective of this study was to diagnose polycystic ovary syndrome in young girls.
205 teenage girls were evaluated out of which 135 girls (66%) were found to have PCOS.
The most common presenting symptom of these girls was menstrual irregularity, followed by acne, weight gain; increased thick body hair growth. esp. over the chin, side locks, tummy and back (where normally men have hair).Teenagers with PCOS had a significantly higher chance of obesity, high BP and low levels of good cholesterol. The prevalence of metabolic syndrome was 10.8 % in adolescent girls with PCOS compared to 1.7 % girls without PCOS. This study proves that teenage girls diagnosed with PCOS are at a significantly increased risk of metabolic syndrome, also known as Syndrome X!
Metabolic syndrome is a combination of medical disorders which when occur together, increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
The International Diabetes Federation suggests that at least 3 of the above 5 criteria need to be fulfilled to label a person as having metabolic syndrome.
Recent research indicates prolonged stress, wrong eating habits, sedentary life style, and uncontrolled weight gain as high risk factors for developing metabolic syndrome. In our daily practice, at the Gynaecworld clinic, we have also found an alarming number of adolescent girls who are obese to have high cholesterol and blood sugars. Lifestyle changes can make a big difference in preventing or delaying the development of serious disease. Losing weight and getting active should be the top priority.
So eat right and exercise!