CLINICAL: Women diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome are at increased risk of cardiovascular disease, according to a study by University Hospitals of Leicester Trust and Leicester University.

The findings were presented to a Society for Endocrinology annual meeting in Harrogate earlier this month.

Trevor Howlett, lead investigator and consultant endocrinologist at the trust, said: “Our study clearly shows that a simple diagnosis of PCOS is associated with an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease many years later, with cardiovascular events occurring almost 10 times more frequently in some age groups.”

Dr Howlett said work had begun to develop lifestyle intervention and education programmes for women with PCOS, promoting healthy food, weight reduction and smoking cessation to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Researchers analysed data on 2,353 women with PCOS who had visited clinics in Leicestershire over 20 years and 432,506 controls, made up of women living in the county. In women aged over 45, the respective prevalence of heart attack and angina was 1.9 per cent and 2.5 per cent in women with PCOS. This compared with respective rates of 0.2 per cent and 0.8 per cent in the broader local female population.