Heart disease is the leading cause of death in this country, even higher than cancer. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is associated with heart disease risk, especially in premenopausal women.
Some common factors increase the risk of heart disease, including smoking, high blood pressure, obesity, unhealthy diet, sedentary lifestyle, diabetes and increased alcohol consumption. If you have PCOS, it’s especially important to pay attention to the medical and lifestyle issues that lead to heart disease so you can reduce your risk of developing the disease — which can interfere with your quality of life and lead to life-threatening complications.
Cardiovascular risk factors for PCOS
Metabolic syndrome is associated with PCOS and is one of the reasons for the increased incidence of cardiovascular disease in PCOS patients. Cardiovascular disease is cardiovascular disease – it can lead to heart failure, heart attack and stroke.
Metabolic syndrome is a disorder characterized by high body mass index (BMI), high blood pressure (chronically elevated blood pressure), insulin resistance, and unhealthy fat and cholesterol levels.
Most people with metabolic syndrome have elevated triglycerides, low levels of heart-healthy high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, and high levels of unhealthy low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.
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Hypertension is a silent disease, which is why many people don’t even know if they have it.
Blood pressure is a measure of the force of blood through the blood vessels. When it’s too high, it’s a sign that the heart has to pump harder to circulate blood to the body. This may be caused by atherosclerosis, which is the hardening of the walls of blood vessels.
High blood pressure can be idiopathic (no known cause), and lifestyle factors (such as smoking, unhealthy diet, and a sedentary lifestyle) can contribute to high blood pressure. It can be treated with lifestyle changes and medication.
abnormal cholesterol levels
Cholesterol is made in our own bodies and influenced by what we eat every day. Having PCOS puts you at risk for increased cholesterol, increased triglyceride levels, and decreased HDL levels.
Unhealthy cholesterol levels can lead to atherosclerosis.
Atherosclerosis is the buildup of hard fatty plaques in the arteries. High blood pressure, diabetes, and unhealthy cholesterol levels can all contribute to atherosclerosis. This condition damages blood vessels and blocks normal blood flow throughout the body. It can also cause blood clots.
Atherosclerosis in the coronary arteries (the arteries that supply the heart muscle) can lead to heart attack and heart failure. Atherosclerosis in the carotid or cerebral arteries can lead to stroke.
High blood pressure, high blood sugar, unhealthy cholesterol, obesity, and atherosclerosis are all hallmarks of metabolic syndrome, and they all contribute to each other.
If you have PCOS, it’s important to know that your risk of heart disease may increase at an early age. So what can you do to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease when you have PCOS? The first step is to regularly check your weight, blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol, and discuss your risk factors with your doctor.
Things you can do:
- If you smoke, stop smoking.
- Maintain a healthy weight through diet and exercise.
- Even if you are at a healthy weight, avoid too much saturated fat in your diet.
- Avoid excess salt in your diet.
Sources of saturated fat often include animal products such as red meat, butter, and processed meats (which are also high in salt). Replace saturated fats with healthier sources of unsaturated fats, such as olive oil, nuts, seeds, and avocados.
Eating a diet rich in fiber and antioxidants of fruits and vegetables can help you lower your blood pressure and avoid weight gain.
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