Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and excess weight have been independently linked with the onset of asthma, according to findings in a new study to be presented at the annual Endocrine Society meeting.

Polycystic ovary syndrome is a common among women of childbearing age but no studies of its relationship to asthma have been published until now. To assess this and the link between excessive weight and asthma, researchers at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia, analyzed data from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health (ALSWH). This is a national periodic survey that has followed more than 58,000 Australian women of various ages since 1996.

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Researchers randomly selected a total of 9,145 women’s survey responses. The analysis showed that among women aged 28 to 33 years, PCOS prevalence was 5.8%. Of these, 15.2% reported asthma vs. 10.6% who didn’t have PCOS. Although the body mass index (BMI) of overweight and obese women reporting PCOS was significantly higher than in those without PCOS, both BMI and PCOS were independently linked to asthma.

“These findings highlight that polycystic ovary syndrome is a complex disorder that includes significant inflammatory underpinnings,” said Anju Elizabeth Joham, MBBS, FRACP, and lead author of the study. “These results also raise awareness of the need to consider higher risks in other health areas in this condition.”Further longitudinal research is needed to confirm the links between PCOS, excessive weight and asthma, the authors concluded.

For more information visit endocrine.org.