Polycystic Ovary Syndrome - Diagnosis - Common Assessments For Associated Conditions or Risks

Common Assessments For Associated Conditions or Risks

  • Fasting biochemical screen and lipid profile
  • 2-hour oral glucose tolerance test (GTT) in patients with risk factors (obesity, family history, history of gestational diabetes) may indicate impaired glucose tolerance (insulin resistance) in 15–33% of women with PCOS. Frank diabetes can be seen in 65–68% of women with this condition. Insulin resistance can be observed in both normal weight and overweight patients, although it is more common in the latter (and in those matching the stricter NIH criteria for diagnosis); 50–80% of PCOS patients may have insulin resistance at some level.
  • Fasting insulin level or GTT with insulin levels (also called IGTT). Elevated insulin levels have been helpful to predict response to medication and may indicate women who will need higher dosages of metformin or the use of a second medication to significantly lower insulin levels. Elevated blood sugar and insulin values do not predict who responds to an insulin-lowering medication, low-glycemic diet, and exercise. Many women with normal levels may benefit from combination therapy. A hypoglycemic response in which the two-hour insulin level is higher and the blood sugar lower than fasting is consistent with insulin resistance. A mathematical derivation known as the HOMAI, calculated from the fasting values in glucose and insulin concentrations, allows a direct and moderately accurate measure of insulin sensitivity (glucose-level x insulin-level/22.5).
  • Glucose tolerance testing (GTT) instead of fasting glucose can increase diagnosis of increased glucose tolerance and frank diabetes among patients with PCOS according to a prospective controlled trial. While fasting glucose levels may remain within normal limits, oral glucose tests revealed that up to 38% of asymptomatic women with PCOS (versus 8.5% in the general population) actually had impaired glucose tolerance, 7.5% of those with frank diabetes according to ADA guidelines.

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