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High Cholesterol and PCOS

The Two Conditions Are Often Linked


Updated July 22, 2009

Metabolic Syndrome, or Syndrome X, is a grouping of risk factors that commonly occur together and increase a woman's risk for cardiovascular disease. Due to its link to obesity and insulin resistance, women with PCOS are at an increased risk for this cluster of conditions, which also includes high levels of triglycerides and low levels of HDL (good cholesterol).

Cholesterol is a type of fat that is both made by the body, and ingested through our diet. There are a number of types of cholesterol that is measured through routine screening. High density lipoprotein, or HDL, is considered to be the “good” cholesterol. In sufficient amounts, it keeps bad cholesterol from building up in the blood vessels. Low density lipoprotein, or LDL, is known as the bad cholesterol. It is produced by the liver and carried in the blood throughout the body. In high quantities, it can accumulate on the wall of the blood vessels and create blockages.

Diagnosing High Cholesterol

Diagnosing high cholesterol is easily done through a simple blood test. Depending on your age and medical history, your physician may or may not routinely test your cholesterol. However, you can always request the test if you are concerned. The blood test will measure your levels of total cholesterol, high density lipoprotein (or HDL), low density lipoprotein (or LDL) and triglycerides.

Interpreting Test Results

Treating High Cholesterol

If your cholesterol levels are high, your physician may suggest a number of lifestyle changes to see if they are effective in reducing levels. Losing weight, reducing dietary fat intake, increasing activity or exercise and quitting smoking are all interventions that may reduce your cholesterol. However, if they are not effective, your physician may prescribe one of a number of medications to lower cholesterol levels.

Cholesterol Medications


McCance, Kathryn L. and Huether, Sue E. Understanding Pathophysiology. Mosby. St. Louis MO, 2003.:

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