PCOS appears to be an inherited condition. If your sister has had PCOS, you may want to be
checked for the syndrome. Likewise, if you have or have had PCOS, your sister should probably
Monitoring your health is important if you have been diagnosed with PCOS:
Overweight women with PCOS should have at least one oral glucose tolerance test to check for your risk
of diabetes. The fasting blood glucose test is not adequate to diagnose diabetes in women with PCOS.
The oral glucose tolerance test requires you to visit the doctor or laboratory in the morning after an
overnight fast, and to drink a concentrated sugar drink. Blood is drawn before and after the drink. The
glucose level exactly two hours after the drink is used to diagnose diabetes mellitus or an increased
risk of diabetes called impaired glucose tolerance.
Because of the possible increased risk of cardiovascular disease in women with PCOS, you should have
your blood pressure and your LDL (bad) cholesterol, HDL (good) cholesterol, and triglyercide levels
checked. This is especially important if you are overweight.
Staying as healthy as possible is the goal. The following changes can help to improve
your body's response to extra insulin and can help reduce your risk of diabetes, heart
disease, and stroke:
- Try to stay on a healthy diet with adequate amounts of protein. Your reproductive
endocrinologist or doctor should be able to suggest a healthy diet to follow;
- Add whole grains, fruits, and vegetables to your diet; and - Exercise regularly to
keep your weight in check.
Taking oral contraceptives and anti-androgen treatments also can help to keep your PCOS
symptoms in check.
Finally, if you are not happy with your doctor, find a specialist who will listen to
your concerns. Women with PCOS often have special concerns about their appearance that
are directly tied to their condition. You and your doctor must act as partners to manage
all aspects of this complex condition.
Source: Andrea Dunaif, MD Professor of Medicine, Center for Endocrinology, Metabolism
and Molecular Medicine University Medical School; Chicago, IL
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