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Understanding the Effects of PCOS on Women Over 65

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Though both senior men and women may be susceptible to most health conditions, some disorders are specific to only one gender. One of these unique conditions only affecting women is called polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). To give you and your elderly loved one a better understanding of PCOS, Naples elder home care experts explain the condition’s symptoms, its additional risks for aging women, and what your loved one can do to stay healthy if she develops the disorder.

What Is PCOS?

PCOS is an endocrine disorder that causes the ovaries to produce high levels of androgen. As a result, small cysts develop in the area surrounding the ovaries and the body becomes more resistant to insulin. PCOS is normally diagnosed in younger women who develop infertility, facial hair, skin problems, and amenorrhea as a result of the hormones. Recent studies have focused on the long-term effects of the syndrome and what changes it brings for women as they enter menopause and their senior years.

How Does Increased Age Affect Hormones?

As women transition through menopause, their estrogen levels slowly decrease along with their fertility. In women with PCOS, however, high adrenal and androgen levels can extend fertility. Periods become more regular and women have an increased chance of getting pregnant as they age. The long-term exposure to the male hormones manifests physically through excessive facial hair, hair loss, a decrease in hot flashes, fewer episodes of sweating, and an increase in male-pattern hair growth.

What Risks Do Seniors with PCOS Face?

Elderly women with PCOS are at a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. Cardiovascular disease develops in women with PCOS more often due to an increase in inflammation and unfavorable lipid profiles. Obesity often develops due to insulin resistance, which makes women crave carbohydrates and decreases their ability to use those carbohydrates properly. Obese women with PCOS have been found to have a fivefold increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, putting them at risk for kidney disease and nerve disorders as well.

What Can Women with PCOS Do to Boost Their Health? 

With a healthy diet and exercise, your senior loved one can lose weight to relieve her PCOS symptoms. Just a 5 to 10 percent reduction in weight has been shown to reduce insulin resistance and alleviate reproductive matters. A diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods, such as those high in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, can reduce your loved one’s risk of developing cardiovascular conditions. Additionally, taking select supplements, such as myo-inositol and magnesium, may alleviate your loved one’s symptoms and enhance her quality of life. Check with a doctor before your loved one takes any supplements.

For more information on PCOS or other conditions affecting women over 65, reach out to Home Care Assistance. Our dedicated caregivers are available around the clock to assist seniors with a wide array of everyday tasks. In addition to respite and live-in care, we also offer specialized Parkinson’s, post-stroke, and Alzheimer’s home care Naples, FL, seniors can count on. Call a qualified Client Care Manager today at (239) 449-4701 to schedule a free in-home consultation.

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