A survey by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) has revealed that one in four women in India suffers from the endocrine system disorder, also known as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. The condition makes women more prone to heart attacks or strokes, say doctors.
The study was conducted on a sample size of 3,500. But it was found that while the condition is extremely common, over 50 per cent of the women who suffer from the disorder are themselves unaware of it.
"Women with PCOS are four to seven times more at risk of suffering a heart attack as compared to women of the same age without PCOS. Women with PCOS are also at a higher rate of miscarriage because of elevated levels of luteinising hormones, insulin or glucose," said Dr Shobha Gupta, gynaecologist and IVF specialist.
About 12 million people around the world die or suffer heart attacks or strokes every year. Women have been seen to be more prone to it after menopause.
PCOS is becoming a major public health concern worldwide. Apart from the symptoms of PCOS, which include irregular or no menstrual periods, excessive hair growth on the face (hirsutism) and body weight gain, acne, ovarian cysts, and alopecia, doctors have said that PCOS can also lead to heart attack and other cardio problems.
About 25 per cent of women throughout the world have at least one miscarriage. But women who had more than three repeated miscarriages were at nine-fold increased risk of heart attack. With each miscarriage, a woman's risk of heart attack increased by 40 per cent. Those who had at least one stillbirth were about 3.5 times as likely to suffer a heart attack.
"Smoking or intake of tobacco, alcohol consumption, poor diet, unhealthy lifestyle, high blood pressure, diabetes, lack of physical activity, etc. are all factors that increase the risk of heart attacks. Maintaining an unhealthy lifestyle makes you fat, and obesity is the biggest reason for PCOS and thus heart attacks. The more risk factors, the higher the risk," said Dr Anubha Singh, senior gynaecologist, Shantah IVF Centre.