FRIDAY, Oct. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), an endocrine disorder that often leads to infertility, are more likely to have parents with some form of heart disease, according to a new study.

"By further understanding the link between PCOS and other family medical conditions, we might be able to diagnose and treat all of these illnesses at an earlier stage," the study's lead author, Michael Davies, an associate professor from the University of Adelaide's Robinson Institute, said in a university news release.

In conducting the study, researchers examined the medical histories of more than 700 women. They found that mothers of women with PCOS are more likely to suffer from some form of heart disease and almost twice as likely to have high blood pressure than mothers of other women.

Meanwhile, the findings, published Oct. 4 in the online journal PLoS ONE, revealed that fathers of women with the condition are more than twice as likely to have heart disease, and more than four times as likely to suffer a stroke than other fathers.

"Our results show there is a strong link between cardiovascular disease in both mother and father and the risk of polycystic ovary syndrome in their daughters," said Davies. "It suggests that PCOS may be the consequence of a family susceptibility to chronic disease," he explained.

The study authors noted that more research is needed on the familial link between PCOS and heart disease.

More information

The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about polycystic ovary syndrome.