Dr Gill Lockwood, the medical director and fertility specialist on behalf of Fertility Family, spoke exclusively to Express.co.uk about the “biggest public health problems we are facing”. “Women with PCOS [polycystic ovarian syndrome] are FIVE times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes,” Dr Lockwood emphasised. “It is frankly shocking that this common and treatable condition is so neglected and under-diagnosed,” she continued.
Distressing symptoms can include: poor skin, excess weight, irregular periods and low moods.
“PCOS is a spectrum of symptoms which can vary in severity, and which can have life-long implications for women’s health and well-being,” said Dr Lockwood.
The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explained that women with PCOS are often insulin resistant.
This means their pancreas can create the hormone insulin, but the body’s cells don’t respond to it effectively, thereby increasing the risk of high blood sugar.
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Such symptoms include irregular or no periods, higher androgen levels in the blood, and/or multiple cysts on the ovaries.
How to reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes
Whether you have PCOS or not, one of the best ways to minimise your risk of type 2 diabetes is to exercise regularly.
The NHS recommends everybody to do at least 150 minutes of exercise every week.
This can be broken down into three 10-minute bouts of activity daily, five times per week.
Better yet, the more consistent you are with exercising, the more health benefits you will gain in the long term.
How common is PCOS?
The global diabetes community pointed out that PCOS affects about one in five women in the UK.
A diagnosis will usually involve a discussion of symptoms, blood tests, and an ultrasound scan.
What are the symptoms of type 2 diabetes?
If you have PCOS, you might be wondering if you are presenting signs of high blood sugar levels.
The warning signs of type 2 diabetes can develop gradually, but usually consist of the following – as pointed out by the NHS:
- Peeing more than usual, particularly at night
- Feeling thirsty all the time
- Feeling very tired
- Losing weight without trying to
- Itching around your penis or vagina, or repeatedly getting thrush
- Cuts or wounds taking longer to heal
- Blurred vision.
A blood test, arranged by your doctor, can identify if you have high blood sugar levels.
If this is the case, then your doctor will discuss with you how to best manage your condition.