A recent study by the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia revealed some interesting findings on menopause. It has found that white women who smoke and carry specific gene variants are more likely to start their menopause earlier than those who do not.
The study was comprised of four hundred women aged between thirty-five to forty-seven. The study focused on the link between smoking and the existence of one nucleotide polymorphisms appearing in four genes and the metabolism of environmental chemicals and steroid hormones; and whether that affected menopause symptoms starting earlier.
The combination of smoking and the presence of these four genes, in affecting when one starts menopause, was found to be a much greater risk for women of European descent. The heavier the women smoked the higher the risk grew, as one might expect. The North American Menopause Society has highlighted that heavy smokers could start menopause two years earlier than they would have had they not smoked. Smoking can also affect the intensity of the hot flashes, with smokers suffering more than non smokers. On top of that, there are all of the other dangers associated with smoking such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke. These risks are naturally increasing as women grow older, and smoking just increases the risk.
The American Lung Association (ALA) has also warned that cases of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which by the way is incurable, is on the rise in middle aged women. COPD is now the third most common leading cause of death in people in the United States, with women aged forty-five to sixty-four being fifty-one times more likely to have the disease than men.
The ALA has suggested that the rise in the number of women who now have a smoking habit is likely a direct correlation with the increase in COPD amongst women. They went on to say that there are several positive initiatives underway that can help to fight this disease. One way is to support women who want to quit smoking by providing tobacco cessation counseling as well as improve the services their health care providers give, and they go on to suggest better laws be introduced to reduce widespread tobacco usage.
Everyone knows smoking is bad for them, so no news there, but if you are a middle aged woman, kicking the habit will not only help with overall health issues, but also your menopause too.