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Am J Med. 1995 Jan 16;98(1A):27S-32S.

Obesity, lipids, cardiovascular risk, and androgen excess.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology (Section of Research and Education in Women's Health) Oklahoma University Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City 73190.


Several lines of evidence suggest that a subset of women may be at increased risk of cardiovascular disease because of unfavorable alterations in insulin action and/or production, accompanying altered apolipoprotein metabolism and altered androgenicity and/or estrogenicity. A number of cardiovascular disease risk factors, including central obesity, insulin resistance (with associated hyperinsulinemia), dyslipidemia, and/or diabetes mellitus, tend to cluster in these women. Another common ovarian morphology in women with hyperandrogenism is polycystic ovaries, which cluster with hirsutism, anovulation, infertility, gonadotropin secretion abnormalities, android fat distribution, and many important cardiovascular disease risk factors. Studies indicate that androgen excess may be a signal of increased risk for coronary artery disease, even in younger women. If androgenicity and insulin resistance are early warning signs of increasing risk of morbidity and mortality, these patients are prime candidates for preventive medicine. It is important that primary care providers begin to recognize these androgen disorders as a clue to the existence of a complex, lifelong pattern potentially placing women at risk for premature morbidity and mortality and initiate preventive treatment before irreversible thresholds are crossed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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