Obesity and a common endocrine system disorder among women of reproductive age - polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) - are independently linked with asthma, says a study. Women with PCOS may have enlarged ovaries and the disorder is associated with problems such as irregular menstrual cycles, excessive hair growth, acne, obesity, reduced fertility and increased risk of diabetes.
"A greater proportion of women with polycystic ovary syndrome report asthma, and the results of this study suggest that asthma is associated with PCOS and excess weight," said lead author Anju Elizabeth Joham from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.
"These findings highlight that polycystic ovary syndrome is a complex disorder that includes significant inflammatory underpinnings. These results also raise awareness of the need to consider higher risks in other health areas in this condition," Joham said.
The findings are scheduled to be presented today at ENDO 2016, the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society, in Boston.
The researchers assessed the prevalence of asthma in reproductive-age women. They also investigated the impact of obesity on the prevalence of asthma in the women who had PCOS compared with those who did not have PCOS.
To examine these links, Joham and her colleagues analysed data from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health (ALSWH), an ongoing national periodic survey that has been following more than 58,000 Australian women of various ages since 1996 and periodically collecting data from them about the factors that influence their health.
The researchers randomly selected the survey responses of 9,145 women about their polycystic ovary syndrome and asthma status. The study showed that PCOS status and body mass index (BMI) in both the overweight and obese categories were independently associated with asthma.
Polycystic ovary syndrome was associated with increased odds of asthma and BMI in the overweight and obese ranges was also associated with increased odds of asthma, the study showed.
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