Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the most common endocrine and metabolic disorder affecting women in
reproductive age. Although the etiology of PCOS remains unclear, it is believed to result from genetic, environmental and
behavioral interactions. Women with PCOS have higher lifetime risk for cardiovascular disease (CVR) than healthy
women at the same age and tend to display insulin resistance (IR). IR has traditionally been defined as a decreased ability
of insulin to mediate the metabolic actions on glucose uptake, glucose production, and/or lipolysis. This results in a requirement
for increased amounts of insulin to achieve a given metabolic action.
Metabolic syndrome (MS) includes hyperinsulinemia, dyslipidemia, increased CVR and hyperleptinemia and metabolic
disorders such as hypertension, IR, gestational diabetes, type 2 diabetes mellitus, systemic inflammation and endothelial
dysfunction. The prevalence of MS in women is around 50 %. In addition, it has been recently suggested that women with
MS show increased circulating androgens. The present review discusses the main alterations and features of PCOS and
MS and the most important treatments.
Keywords: cardiovascular disease, diabetes, glitazones, hyperandrogenism, insulin resistance, lipids, metabolic syndrome, metformin,
obesity, polycystic ovary syndrome, simvastatin, statins.
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