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Sleep Med Clin. 2008 Mar;3(1):37-46.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

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1
Section of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL.

Abstract

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), the most common endocrine disorder of pre-menopausal women, is characterized by chronic hyperandrogenism, oligoanovulation, obesity and insulin resistance. Importantly, PCOS women are at increased risk for glucose intolerance, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disorders. Recent reports indicate an unexpectedly high prevalence of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) in PCOS. Alterations in sex steroids (i.e. high androgen and low estrogen levels) and increased visceral adiposity in PCOS could potentially contribute to the increased prevalence of OSA in this disorder. There is some evidence to suggest that there may be strong associations between the presence and severity of OSA and the metabolic disturbances that characterize PCOS. Causal mechanisms in the link between PCOS and OSA remain to be elucidated. Clinicians who manage PCOS patients should be aware of the high prevalence of OSA in these patients and systematically evaluate these women for sleep disturbances.

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