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Diabetes Risk In PCOS: Key Factors, Diet And Role Of Early Intervention- Expert Explains

Understanding the intricate link between Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and diabetes, delving into risks, diet recommendations, and the importance of timely intervention.

In an interview with Zee News English, Ms. Vilasini Bhaskaran, Specialist Weight Management, Bariatrics and Diabetes Dietitian, NHS UK; Dietetic Lead, Practo India shares the relationship between diabetes and PCOS.

“Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the most common form of androgen excess disorder (AED) and constitutes the most common endocrine disorder in women of reproductive age, affecting 6%-15% of the global population,” says Ms. Vilasini.

Ms. Vilasini further commnets, “Hyperandrogenism, infertility, and menstrual abnormalities are the most prevalent PCOS symptoms. The prevalence of insulin resistance (IR) among women with PCOS is 60%-70%. Although lean women with PCOS may also have IR, obesity further increases IR in overweight patients and this prolonged resistance can develop into type 2 diabetes over some time.”

Role of Early Intervention In PCOS Treatment

Ms. Vilasini shares, “Early detection and interventions can help reduce PCOS-related metabolic complications such as pre-diabetes, type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy), heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and sleep apnoea.”

To which Dr Mahalakshmi adds, “Since PCOS is undiagnosed in about 70% of the population, symptoms like irregular cycles, increased body hair, and acne should prompt for check-ups. Early detection can warn us of possibilities like diabetes, hypertension, cardiac conditions and even cancers of the reproductive system.”

Dr Mahalakshmi Pendurthi – MBBS, DNB – Obstetrics & Gynecology, Gynecologist, Laparoscopic Surgeon (Obs & Gyn), Obstetrician, Consultant Practo talked to Zee News Enlish about the key factors that contribute to the development of prediabetes & diabetes in women with PCOS, and how can these can be managed.

“Insulin Resistance is the key factor for prediabetes or diabetes in PCOS. Adding to it, obesity and the increasingly unhealthy lifestyle have become quite popular recently, highlights Dr Mahalakshmi.

Further Dr Mahalakshmi discusses more about specific food/dietary patterns that should be emphasized or avoided for individuals with PCOS to reduce their diabetes risk.

“Increasing protein intake while cutting down carbohydrates to moderation is a healthy way of handling it. Sweets and refined sugars have been known to increase abdominal fat in turn leading to PCOS. Meanwhile, the dietary pattern of eating salads, and proteins followed by carbohydrates would be tummy filling as well as keeping the carbs at check as satiety sets in preventing excessive food intake,” recommends Gynecologist Dr Mahalakshmi.

Dietary Tips To Follow Reduce PCOS Symptoms

With the right food choices, medical treatment and active lifestyle, complications and symptoms associated with PCOS can be reduced significantly.

– Introduce discipline into your eating leaving a good 3-4hrs gap between meals/ snacks

– Include plenty of vegetables, moderate (1/4 plate) portions of wholegrains/ cereals and lean proteins

– Include no more than 2 portions of fruits per day. Consider taking whole fruits instead of smoothies or fresh juice

– Drink plenty of water to ensure adequate hydration

– Limit treats/high-calorie takeaways/ greasy foods to once a fortnight

– Avoid or limit free sugars (including jaggery/ palm sugar and honey)

– Limit intake of dried fruits such as raisins/ dates/ sultanas to <30g/ day

– Include regular exercise as a part of your daily routine. 

– It is recommended to have at least 30 minutes of some form of exercise per day.

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