Catching Up with Dr. Walter Futterweit
Since Dr. Futterweit is truly on the front lines of PCOS research, I was curious to know what studies he has been involved in since his book, "A Patient's Guide to PCOS" was published in 2006. I had the chance to catch up with him recently.
As we began our conversation, he wanted to make sure that I conveyed to PCOSA Today readers that PCOS "is not just a cosmetic disease." He explained that more and more data is coming out which indicates the serious health risks for cardiovascular disease in women with PCOS and he stressed that we need to control our triglyceride levels. Women who have insulin resistance and have a high triglyceride level are particularly vulnerable to cardiovascular disease.
He explained, "Of all the blood lipid levels, your triglyceride level is the most responsive to lifestyle changes. Eat food that is more healthful, lose a few pounds, and exercise or at least be more active and your triglyceride level will probably drop."
Dr. Futterweit's most recent research efforts involved a study he conducted with Dr. John Nestler regarding the risk of coronary artery disease (CAD) in mothers of women with PCOS. The purpose of the study was to assess the prevalence of CAD in post menopausal PCOS women.
To capture such a population, the presence of CAD in PCOS and non-PCOS mothers of women with PCOS was determined. The study concluded that PCOS mothers of women with PCOS are at a higher risk of CAD events compared with non-PCOS mothers. Additionally, myocardial infarction appears to occur at an earlier than expected age in PCOS mothers. To view the actual abstract Dr. Futterweit presented at The Endocrine Society's Annual Meeting last June click here.
Finally, Dr Futterweit stressed the importance of diagnosing PCOS in early adolescence. He said the trigger to PCOS is at the time of puberty when there is apparent weight gain. This is when PCOS "blossoms." He explained that this is when PCOS must be diagnosed and treated aggressively in order to prevent difficulty conceiving as well as prevent diabetes later on in a women's life.