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Hormones (Athens). 2005 Jul-Sep;4(3):133-47.

Polycystic ovary syndrome. Revised diagnostic criteria and long-term health consequences.

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  • 1Ippokration Hospital, Athens, Greece, and Institute of Reprodcutive & Developmental Biology Imperial College London, UK. lkousta@otenet.gr


The diagnostic criteria for polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) have recently been revised. The polycystic ovarian morphology has been introduced as part of the criteria and an international consensus has been achieved providing the basis for future research and collaboration. It is now accepted that polycystic ovary syndrome has important long-term health implications, including metabolic disorders and increased risk factors for cardiovascular disease. The overall risk of developing type 2 diabetes among women with PCOS was found to be increased 3-7 times. Women with PCOS have increased levels of cardiovascular risk factors: insulin resistance, obesity, dyslipidaemia, hypertension and markers of abnormal vascular function. However, the level of risk for cardiovascular disease remains uncertain. The limited epidemiological data available to date have shown no increase in cardiovascular events although the incidence of cerebrovascular events was increased. The evidence for an increased risk for endometrial carcinoma among women with PCOS is limited. Long-term epidemiological studies of women with well defined PCOS are needed in order to assess the risk of long-term health consequences, to identify the subgroups among PCOS women who need to be targeted and to determine the timing and nature of measures for intervention and prevention.

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