Context Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is closely linked to hyperandrogenism (HA). In PCOS, HA has been associated with metabolic disturbances that increase the risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD). Objective To assess the association of high serum androgen levels, as a postmenopausal remnant of PCOS, with the prevalence of atherosclerosis and incidence of CVD in postmenopausal women. Design The Rotterdam Study, a prospective population-based cohort study. Median follow-up was 11.36 years. Setting General community. Participants A total of 2578 women aged >55 years. Exclusion criteria were missing informed consent or follow-up data, perimenopausal status, and menopause by surgical intervention or at an unnatural age (age <40 or >62). Intervention None. Main Outcomes and Measures Linear, logistic, and Cox regression models assessed the association of top quartiles (P 75) of serum testosterone, free androgen index (FAI), dehydroepiandrosterone, and androstenedione and sex hormone-binding globulin with coronary artery calcium, carotid intima-media thickness (IMT), pulse wave velocity, peripheral artery disease, and incidence of coronary heart disease (CHD), stroke, and CVD. Results Mean age (standard deviation) was 70.19 (8.71) years, and average time since menopause was 19.85 (9.94) years. Highest quartile FAI was associated with higher pulse wave velocity (β [95% confidence interval (CI)], 0.009 [0.000 to 0.018]). Highest quartile dehydroepiandrosterone [β (95% CI), -0.008 (-0.015 to -0.001)] and androstenedione [β (95% CI), -0.010 (-0.017 to -0.003)] levels were associated with a lower IMT. We found no association between high androgen levels and incident stroke, CHD, or CVD. Conclusion Postmenopausal high androgen levels were not associated with an elevated risk for CVD. Cardiovascular health in women with PCOS might be better than was anticipated.

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Journal Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Meun, C, Franco, O.H, Dhana, K, Jaspers, L, Muka, T, Louwers, Y.V, … Laven, J.S.E. (2018). High Androgens in Postmenopausal Women and the Risk for Atherosclerosis and Cardiovascular Disease. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 103(4), 1622–1630. doi:10.1210/jc.2017-02421