Since the start of the pandemic, more and more health conditions have been linked to a higher risk of COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention keeps a running list of the most common—which includes everything from genetics, socioeconomic status and age to pre-existing health conditions such as diabetes, obesity, and cancer. Now, a new study claims there is another relatively common health condition that can also up your chances of a severe COVID-19 infection, and it is rather unexpected.
RELATED: Sure Signs You Had COVID and Didn’t Know It
Women With PCOS Are at High Risk for COVID—and They Are Otherwise Young and Healthy
According to the new research, published in the European Society of Endocrinology, women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) are at a higher risk for the virus compared to other women in their age group. And, many of them are otherwise young and healthy.
According to the CDC, PCOS impacts six to 12 percent of women in the United States, or roughly five million. While most commonly associated with infertility, the CDC explains that women who suffer from PCOS are often insulin resistant, meaning while their bodies can make insulin, they can’t use it effectively, increasing their risk for type 2 diabetes. “They also have higher levels of androgens (male hormones that females also have), which can stop eggs from being released (ovulation) and cause irregular periods, acne, thinning scalp hair, and excess hair growth on the face and body,” they explain. Women with the condition are also more likely to suffer from obesity, one of the biggest preventable risk factors for COVID. And, per the CDC, over half the women with the condition will develop diabetes prior to their 40th birthdays. They are also more prone to insulin resistance, heart disease and endometrial cancer. High blood pressure and low vitamin D, also linked to increased risk of COVID, are common with those with PCOS.
“Women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) have an increased risk of cardio-metabolic disease, which have been identified as a risk factor for COVID-19,” the study authors wrote. According to their findings, there was a 52% increased risk of COVID-19 infection in women with PCOS, which remained increased at 28% above controls after adjustment for age, BMI, impaired glucose regulation and other explanatory variables.
RELATED: Signs You’re Getting One of the “Most Deadly” Cancers.
These Women Have Been Overlooked
“Women with PCOS have recently been highlighted as an overlooked and potentially high risk population for contracting COVID-19,” Joint senior author Professor Wiebke Arlt, Director of the University of Birmingham’s Institute of Metabolism and Systems Research, explained.
One thing the study did not explore is the impact of PCOS on “the risk of a severe course of the COVID-19 infection or on the risk of COVID-19 related long-term complications of COVID-19,” Arlt added.
So follow Fauci’s fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—practice good hand hygiene, get vaccinated ASAP, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don’t visit any of these 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch COVID.