Smoking can affect women's health years after they quit

Jul 01, 2011

Smoking can be harmful long after people have quit

Researchers from Harvard Medical School have found that smoking is a potent risk factor in women for peripheral artery disease, according to a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. PAD is a debilitating disorder caused by the narrowing of the arteries in the lower extremities.

"This study showed that - as has been previously shown for heart attacks and for lung cancer - that smoking is actually very harmful for the development PAD," said Eruna Pradhan, assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and an author of the study.

The research group based their findings on the Women's Health Study. The study followed 39,876 healthy women over the age of 45 for almost 13 years to determine if smoking increased their risk for PAD and if quitting would have an effect on that risk.

The results showed smoking increased their risk by ten times, according to the study. Furthermore, even women that had not smoked for 20 years did not reduce their risk to that of someone that had never smoked. Ultimately, women that do not plan ahead for their life insurance needs may find themselves having difficulty getting coverage if they are suffering from a health condition such as PAD. 

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