Artery Disease Risk High for Female Smokers
Women who smoke, even for a short time, have an increased risk of suffering from peripheral artery disease, a new study shows.
The study, which began in 1993, included 38,825 women who were then ages 45 or older and had no history of cardiovascular disease at the start of the study. Researchers found that women who smoked were 20 times more likely to develop peripheral artery disease over a 13-year period than women who did not smoke.
Researchers also found that the more cigarettes a woman smoked, the greater the risk of developing peripheral artery disease. Women who smoked at least one pack a day for 10 years had a significantly high risk of developing the disease.
Cessation reduced the risk of developing peripheral artery disease, but even those who had quit 20 years ago still were at a much greater risk of suffering from the disease than nonsmokers, researchers said.
According to an article published on MSNBC.com, Dr. Aruna D. Pradhan, study researcher and assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, said: "Just as has been shown in the past for lung disease and heart attacks, our study now convincingly shows that smoking is a very strong risk factor for the development of peripheral artery disease."
According to the article on MSNBC.com, researchers said there was no threshold below which smokers were not at risk for developing peripheral artery disease. Chemicals in cigarettes damage a person’s blood vessels and increases the risk of developing arteriosclerosis, thereby increasing a person chances of developing peripheral artery disease, the National Institutes of Health says.