PCOS – Polycystic Ovaries Syndrome is a sexual hormonal disorder in women. But did you know that it can lead to diabetes? Keep a check before it’s too late.
A ccording to a study by PCOS society, one in 10 Indian women suffer from Polycystic Ovaries Syndrome (PCOS), and more than 10 million women globally are affected by this disease. PCOS is a disorder of the endocrinal system that causes an imbalance of female sex hormones. It is considered to be the most common cause of female infertility. Most urban women are somewhat familiar with this condition. However, not many are aware that PCOS is closely related to a much more serious lifestyle disease – diabetes. In fact, PCOS is often referred to as a form of prediabetes, because the conditions have a lot in common. For instance, just like with type 2 diabetes, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome often starts with insulin resistance. Some studies show that 50 to 90 per cent of women with PCOS are insulin resistant. According to the American Diabetes Association, insulin resistance leads the body to produce high levels of insulin, very similar to the early stage of type 2 diabetes.
Moreover, a study by Australian researchers found that women who had PCOS were three to five times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than women who didn’t have PCOS. Conversely, another study by the Medical College of Virginia found that up to 27 per cent of premenopausal women with type 2 diabetes also have PCOS, signifying that both conditions are inter-related.
Here’s how they help
A mobile intervention platform for diabetic patients provides patients with day-to-day support and real-time guidance to adhere to their treatment plan and manage their glycaemic levels.
Armed with the right digital app one can:
1. Initiate better diagnosis and self-care.
2. Enable remote monitoring for doctors for better health management.
3. Receive day-to-day support and real-time guidance.
4. Reduce the progression of diabetes and its complications.
With a condition such as PCOS that has no known cure, awareness can do a great deal to help women, especially those with diabetes, recognise symptoms and obtain an accurate diagnosis. The growing use of smartphone technology and mobile applications has led to better access to blood glucose readings, general health information, and much more. Smart diabetes-related apps have succeeded in empowering patients to become actively involved with their physicians, treatment regimens and lifestyle changes.
Australian researchers found that women who had PCOS were three to five times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than women who didn’t have PCOS. Conversely, another study by the Medical College of Virginia found that up to 27 per cent of premenopausal women with type 2 diabetes also have PCOS, signifying that both conditions are inter-related.
Who’s at risk?
While it is apparent that PCOS is connected to diabetes, not all women suffering from the disorder will become diabetic. Research is being conducted to determine the lifestyle factors that affect the risks of PCOS. One major factor is weight. Extra body weight might be part of the connection between PCOS and type 2 diabetes, and since many women with PCOS are overweight or obese, even a 5 per cent loss can show improvement in PCOS symptoms.
Another key factor is insulin, since women with type 1 diabetes are at an increased risk of developing PCOS. It is possible that large swings in insulin levels that accompany insulin injections may place extra stress on the ovaries. Raised insulin levels have a direct effect on the ovaries, enhancing testosterone levels. In PCOS the body may have a problem using insulin, resulting in insulin resistance. When the body doesn’t use insulin well, blood sugar levels go up. Over time, this increases your chance of getting diabetes.
Taming the beast with technology
Regular exercise is crucial for keeping the body healthy, especially when it comes to fighting obesity and type 2 diabetes, and it has shown to help with symptoms associated with PCOS. A balanced diet that provides whole grains, lean proteins, healthy fats, and plenty of fruits and vegetables is the key to reduce the risk of diabetes and to manage weight.
However, with fast paced lives and the increased stress levels we experience today, professional intervention becomes equally important to keep a close watch on your health. Thanks to digital apps such as Lifeincontrol, one can not only ensure better compliance, but also give doctors a chance to ensure timely intervention, thereby ensuring better outcomes and in many cases better management of the disease itself.
Inputs by: Dr. Ashwini Rakhame