Understanding the Link Between PCOS and High Blood Pressure Risks
Every year, September is dedicated to PCOS Awareness Month, aiming to enhance the well-being of those impacted by polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), alleviate symptoms, and lower the risk of life-threatening conditions. A study known as the ‘Women’s Health Study,’ conducted by Apple and Harvard, has established that women with PCOS are nearly three times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.
However, what is the connection between PCOS and blood pressure? We’ve consulted experts to provide insights into this relationship.
Dr. Tripti Sharan, a senior consultant at the Centre for Women’s Health at BLK-Max Super Speciality Hospital, has elucidated that, in most instances, insulin resistance is the primary driver. This condition leads to elevated insulin levels, subsequently causing weight gain, menstrual irregularities, and heightened androgen levels responsible for the manifestation of polycystic ovaries, acne, and hirsutism. Additionally, it results in increased levels of unfavourable lipids, such as triglycerides. These factors, either independently or collectively, contribute to the development of high blood pressure. Moreover, when combined with high triglyceride levels, the risk of cardiovascular complications escalates.
However, Dr. Astha Dayal, a specialist in the obstetrics and gynaecology department at C K Birla Hospital, Gurugram, has mentioned that specific research studies have suggested that PCOS can be an independent risk factor for high blood pressure, even without considering diabetes and obesity. This phenomenon is possibly attributed to the elevated levels of androgens in women’s bodies.
Dr. Dayal has emphasised that women with PCOS are 40% more likely to develop high blood pressure. Nonetheless, it’s important to acknowledge that not all women with PCOS share the same risk profile.
Dr. Sharan further elaborated that individuals who are overweight or obese, lead sedentary lifestyles, experience high levels of stress, suffer from inadequate sleep, follow imbalanced diets, engage in smoking, consume excessive fats and salts, or develop high blood sugar are the most susceptible to high blood pressure. Moreover, these individuals may face an elevated risk of gestational diabetes and high blood pressure during pregnancy.