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How Smoking Affects Women’s Health

From the Show: HER
Summary: Did you know smoking affects women's health a little differently than men's?
Air Date: 12/11/14
Duration: 10
Host: Michelle King Robson and Pamela Peeke, MD
Guest Bio: Lishan Aklog, MD
LA Dr. Lishan Aklog is Director and Chief of Cardiovascular Surgery at The Heart and Lung Institute of St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix, Arizona.

Dr. Aklog was born in Ethiopia, one of the world's poorest nations, into a prominent and highly-achieving family. His father was the first cardiologist to practice in Ethiopia, and his mother was the country's first woman to receive a graduate university education, which she earned at Harvard.
How Smoking Affects Women’s Health
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 42.1 million people (18.1 percent of all adults) in the U.S. smoke cigarettes.

Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of death and disease in the United States.

Did you know one person dies every six seconds from tobacco-related disease? That's 10 people per minute.

You may be aware of the harmful effects smoking has on your health. But did you know smoking affects women's health a little differently than men's health?

The CDC reports that in the last 50 years, a woman's risk of dying from smoking has more than tripled and is now equal to the risks of men. In fact, data from industrialized countries show that mortality of women who smoke is elevated by 90% or more compared with mortality among those who do not smoke.

Today, women who smoke are even more likely than men to die of lung cancer. According to a second study in the New England Journal of Medicine, women smokers face 17.8 times greater risk of dying of lung cancer than women who do not smoke. Women who smoke now face a risk of death from lung cancer that is 50 percent higher than the estimates reported in the 1980s.

What other health risks do women face from smoking?
  • Decreased bone density
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Cataracts
  • Ulcers
  • Gum disease
  • Depression
  • Menstrual problems
  • Difficulty throughout Pregnancy
  • Infertility
  • Cancer

What are the treatment options?

The first is obvious: don't start. Smoking is not glamorous or sexy, and contrary to popular belief, will not help keep you thin. If anything, it will rot your teeth, cause your voice to lower and result in premature wrinkles. However, if you are a current smoker there are several treatment options to help you quit, including behavioral therapy and medications.

What else do you need to know about women's health and smoking?

Lishan Aklog, MD, discusses the risks associated with smoking, as well as why smoking affects women's health differently than men.
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