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International Journal of Endocrinology
Volume 2015, Article ID 786362, 17 pages
Review Article

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: Important Underrecognised Cardiometabolic Risk Factor in Reproductive-Age Women

1Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Clinical Hospital Centre, School of Medicine, University of Zagreb, Petrova 13, 10 000 Zagreb, Croatia
2School of Medicine, Medical Studies in English, University of Zagreb, Šalata 3, 10 000 Zagreb, Croatia

Received 14 December 2014; Accepted 26 March 2015

Academic Editor: Manuel Estrada

Copyright © 2015 Dinka Pavicic Baldani et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the most common endocrine disorder amongst women of reproductive age. Although PCOS is diagnosed exclusively based on reproductive criteria, it is also a metabolic disorder. Insulin resistance, impaired glucose tolerance, type 2 diabetes mellitus, obesity, and dyslipidemia are more common in women with PCOS than in age-comparable women without PCOS. Many of the metabolic abnormalities that manifest in PCOS are worsened by the concurrent incidence of obesity. However, some of these metabolic perturbations occur even in lean women with PCOS and therefore are rightfully recognized as intrinsic to PCOS. The intrinsic factors that produce these metabolic disturbances are reviewed in this paper. The consequences of obesity and the other metabolic aberrations are also discussed. The metabolic perturbations in PCOS patients lead to chronic low-grade inflammation and to cardiovascular impairments that heighten the risk of having cardiovascular disease. Even though many studies have shown an elevation in surrogate biomarkers of cardiovascular disease in PCOS women, it is still not clear to what extent and magnitude the elevation precipitates more frequent and earlier events.