Do you smoke? Have you noticed hot flashes? New research provides another link between that cigarette and menopausal symptoms. Because this news keeps accumulating about the health issues that women who smoke face, I want to make a suggestion at the end of this sharepost of a Mother’s Day gift for all the readers and their daughters!
First, the research! ScienceDaily reports on a a new study out of the University of Pennsylvania that found women who smoked who had specific genetic variations that affected metabolism were more likely to have hot flashes than women who smoked who did not have these variations. The researchers followed approximately women who were nearing menopause for a period of 11 years. The scientists took blood samples and analyzed the women’s medical and reproductive history, menopausal symptoms, as well as their smoking and alcohol consumption. Their analysis found that smokers who had single nucleotide polymorphisms in certain genes were at a much higher risk for developing hot flashes than other smokers who did not carry these genetic traits.
The researchers believe that the toxins in smoking may be associated with hot flashes in this group of women. "Women who smoke and carry a particular gene variant may benefit from aggressive targeted approaches to smoking cessation, especially if they know that smoking is a significant contributor to their menopausal symptoms,” the study’s lead author Dr. Samantha Butts of the Perelman School of Medicine told Science Daily.
That’s just the latest news. Last year I wrote two other shareposts that highlight concerns about women who smoke and menopause. In one sharepost, I pointed out studies that found that women who smoke are more likely to begin menopause early. Additionally, men who smoke in the presence of their pregnant partner may cause the daughter becoming at risk in later life for early menopause.
The second sharepost that I wrote was on a meta-analysis that found that not only could smoking bring on early menopause, but it also can influence a woman’s risk of osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, breast cancer, diabetes, obesity, Alzheimer’s disease and early death.
Sadly, all of this is preventable. The American Cancer Society stated, “Smoking is the most preventable cause of early death in this country. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), smoking-related diseases cause the deaths of nearly 174,000 women in the United States each year. On average, women who smoke die 14.5 years sooner than non-smokers.”
Interestingly, it seems that there’s a generational difference in relation to women and smoking. The American Cancer Society found that less than 10 percent of women who are 65 years old and above smoke. However, nearly 20 percent of women who are between the ages of 25-44 smoke. “If these younger women continue to smoke as they get older, they will have more smoking-related illness and disability,” the society stated. And while the American Cancer Society is focused on cancer-related issues, I would suggest that this group of women – some of whom are probably in the earliest stages of menopause – will be dealing with the issues that I mentioned earlier in this sharepost.
The American Cancer Society notes that smoking is behind approximately 80 percent of lung cancer deaths. Smoking also puts women at risk of other types of cancer, including the mouth, larynx (voice box), pharynx (throat), noses and sinuses, lips, esophagus (swallowing tube), kidney, cervix, bladder, pancreas, stomach, ovary, colon/rectum, as well as myeloid leukemia. Plus, smoking can cause or worsen poor blood flow in the arms and legs, leading to peripheral artery disease that limits your ability to walk. The American Cancer Society also warns that smoking places women at a higher risk for rheumatoid arthritis, as well as eye conditions such as cataracts (clouding of the lenses of the eyes) and age-related macular degeneration, which can lead to blindness.
All of these conditions – from hot flashes to cancer to macular degeneration – are a good reason to stop smoking. And – in a twist of the significance of Mother’s Day – I’d encourage all mothers to share this news with their daughters who smoke. Having all women in one family give up smoking will be the best Mother’s Day gifts you’ll ever receive!
Primary Sources for This Sharepost:
American Cancer Society. (2011). Women and smoking: an epidemic of smoking-related cancer and disease in women.
Science Direct. (2012). Some women may be predisposed to smoking-related hot flashes.
Published On: May 12, 2012