Smoking propels aneurysm risk in women

Imaging reveals swelling of the wall of the abdominal aorta.
Imaging reveals swelling of the wall of the abdominal aorta.
Results from two recent studies offer additional reasons to urge your patients to stop smoking. The first trial showed that smoking raises the risk of abdominal aortic aneurysm events nearly ninefold in postmenopausal women. The other demonstrates the negative effects smoking has on cognition in middle-aged adults.

The aneurysm research focused on postmenopausal women who were between the ages of 50 and 79 when they enrolled in the Women's Health Initiative. Researchers found that 467 women had been diagnosed with aortic aneurysm before or during the study. During follow-up (mean 7.8 years; median 7.9 years), abdominal aortic aneurysm events occurred in 184 women.

Current cigarette smokers were found to be 8.73 times more likely to suffer abdominal aortic aneurysm events than those who had never smoked (BMJ. 2008;337:a1724).

The cognitive function study evaluated 1,904 Dutch men and women aged 43-70 years (average age at baseline 56 years). Cognitive function was measured at baseline and five years later.

At the five-year mark, the declines in memory function, cognitive flexibility, and global cognitive function were, respectively, 1.9, 2.4, and 1.7 times greater for nonsmokers than for never-smokers. Cognitive decline among ex-smokers and recent quitters did not differ significantly from that of never-smokers, although researchers did note that “the point estimates of the decline increased steadily from never-smokers to ex-smokers to recent quitters and to smokers” (Am J Public Health. 2008;98:1-7).
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