Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Is a Risk Factor for Type 2 Diabetes

Results From a Long-Term Prospective Study

  1. Renato Pasquali1
  1. From the 1Endocrinology Unit, Department of Clinical Medicine, St. Orsola-Malpighi Hospital, Alma Mater Studiorum University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy; the
  2. 2Department of Internal Medicine, Aging and Nephrologic Diseases, St. Orsola-Malpighi Hospital, Alma Mater Studiorum University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy; and the
  3. 3Section of Hygiene, Epidemiology, Pharmacology and Legal Medicine, University of Chieti, Chieti, Italy
  1. Corresponding author: Renato Pasquali, renato.pasquali{at}unibo.it.

Abstract

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) recently has been identified as a risk factor associated with type 2 diabetes. However, the evidence derives from cross-sectional observational studies, retrospective studies, or short-term prospective studies. This long-term prospective study of a large cohort of women with PCOS, followed from youth to middle age, aimed at estimating, for the first time, the incidence and potential predictors of type 2 diabetes in this population. A total of 255 women with PCOS were followed for at least 10 years (mean follow-up 16.9 years). Six women were patients with diabetes at baseline, and another 42 women developed type 2 diabetes during the follow-up. The incidence rate of type 2 diabetes in the study population was 1.05 per 100 person-years. The age-standardized prevalence of diabetes at the end of follow-up was 39.3%, which is significantly higher with respect to that of the general Italian female population of a similar age (5.8%). The likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes significantly increased as BMI, fasting glucose, and glucose area under the curve at baseline increased and significantly decreased as sex hormone–binding globulin (SHBG) levels at follow-up increased. This study demonstrates that the risk of type 2 diabetes is markedly elevated in middle-aged women with PCOS and suggests including BMI, glucose, and SHBG-circulating levels in the risk stratification.

  • Received November 23, 2011.
  • Accepted March 24, 2012.

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  1. Diabetes vol. 61 no. 9 2369-2374
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