Apple's Women's Health Study shows relationship between PCOS and heart health

Polycystic ovary syndrome is closely linked to heart and circulatory health, according to an Apple Women's Health Study released March 1.

The syndrome also may increase the risk of diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity and cardiovascular disease, according to researchers.

The study, conducted in collaboration with Harvard's T.H. Chan School of Public Health, asked 30,000 women, through a survey, taken between November 2019 and December 2021, about their menstrual cycle over time. Here's what the survey found:

  • Participants who had received a PCOS diagnosis tended to be diagnosed between ages 14 and 35, with the median age being 22 years old.

  • More than 70 percent of participants without PCOS diagnosis said their menstrual cycles became regular within four years of their first period, while just 43 percent of those with PCOS experienced the same.

  • Participants with PCOS diagnoses were four times more likely to have pre-diabetic conditions, three times more likely to have type 2 diabetes and twice as likely to have high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
  • Irregular heartbeat, or arrhythmia, was also more common among participants with PCOS. 

Shruthi Mahalingaiah, MD, co-principal investigator of the Women's Health Study, told Engadget the study is one of the first that provides a connection between PCOS and its health impacts.

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